The Pulse: Child and Youth Therapeutic Services

March 2, 2023



The Child and Youth Therapeutic Services teams make more than 30,000 connections with children and their families every year at BC Children’s Hospital. These teams help create an environment where families are comforted, supported and surrounded by kindness. 

Through programs like music therapy, therapeutic clowning, creative arts and the Pet Therapy Program, presented by PetSmart Charities of Canada™, this team provides moments of laughter, joy and enrichment that can completely transform a child’s hospital experience.

This session of The Pulse, led by Mary MacKillop, Director of Patient Experience, and Heather Lovelace, Director of Professional Practice, will provide a behind-the-scenes look at these programs and why they are so crucial for kids receiving care at BC Children’s.

See below, a recording of the Pulse.


Q&A Highlights

How do you become a Child Life specialist?
Please find more information as well as a list of requirements here:

How can my dog become a pet therapy dog?
You can email to get more information about the program and how to become a volunteer.

If my child is in the hospital – can I ask for a Child Life Specialist, and if so, who do I ask?
You can ask anyone in your care team, for example your bedside nurse. For additional information on Child Life programs and how to request support, visit the following website:


Featured Speakers

Mary MacKillop

Mary MacKillop
Director Patient Experience, BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre

Mary hails from Nova Scotia where she completed her first two degrees and continued her formal education at Royal Roads University with an MA. Mary holds advanced certification in facilitation, mediation and dispute resolution. Mary is nationally recognized and often called upon to speak to human engagement in health care, patient and family authentic engagement and has raised the bar on meaningful patient and family partnerships on the hospital campus.

Heather Lovelace
Director Professional Practice, BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre

A transplant to Vancouver, Heather completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba, and Master of Science in Human Nutrition at the University of British Columbia. She continued to support professional standards and public protection as the Chair of the Board of the College of Dietitians. Heather supports professional practice leadership for 14 disciplines at our facilities and is passionate about creating partnerships and facilitating engagement between practice areas to improve patient care outcomes.

Previously on The Pulse


June 8, 2020
Risky Play



February 22, 2022



January 31, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccines and Kids (Part II)



August 24, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccinations and Kids



April 20, 2021
Mental Health



November 3, 2020



October 7, 2020



September 16, 2020



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