At Shriners Hospitals for Children, the health and safety of our patients, families, volunteers and staff is our top priority. With the evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we are closely monitoring updates from local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are actively following their recommendations.

If your child has an upcoming appointment, please contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis visitor information – Updates

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Patient programs

Patient programs

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis, our care extends far beyond the hospital walls. Our staff members organize events and partner with a number of community organizations to provide opportunities for children to explore and grow their potential inside and outside of the hospital.

Hand Camp

Hand Camp, one of only a few of its kind in the nation, is a weekend retreat for children ages 6–12 with hand or upper limb differences and their families. It is designed to be a time for kids and their families to meet others facing the same challenges and participate in all the fun activities that camp entails.

Organized by the occupational therapy department, it is staffed by multiple hospital departments, including occupational therapy, recreational therapy/child life, nursing and care management. Many of the activities are run by YMCA camp counselors at the YMCA Camp Lakewood in Potosi, Mo. (about 90 miles southwest of St. Louis).

During Hand Camp, patients will have the opportunity to go horseback riding and try archery, rock wall climbing and fishing, as well as take part in teambuilding games and learn from older patients who are junior counselors. Camp also offers special group meetings for parents and siblings for support, learning and sharing.

Hand Camp is free of charge for patients and their families from the St. Louis Shriners Hospital. It is funded through private donations. A $20 refundable deposit per family is required to reserve a spot. Camp participants include the camper and up to four family members. We ask that at least one parent attend and siblings be at least four years of age. Camp check-in is on Friday afternoon and check-out is on Sunday after lunch. All meals and snacks are provided.

To learn more about Hand Camp, contact the occupational therapy department at 314-872-8342, ext. 1138.

Patient Ambassador Program

Patient ambassadors are current or former patients of the hospital who have been selected and volunteer as champions for Shriners Hospitals for Children by participating in special activities, events and other opportunities on behalf of the hospital.

Organized through the Marketing and Communications Department, the patient ambassador program is a great way for patients and families to give the gift of their time and talent to the hospital. Patient ambassadors represent the hospital in their local communities and at the hospital in many different ways, including photo shoots, video productions and speaking to Shrine temples (chapters). 

In addition to being invited to select events, patient ambassadors reap the benefits of building confidence and character through their participation. Many ambassadors speak to youth groups about ability awareness and bullying. Patients and families both have formed lifelong friendships in the program and our younger patients flourish by having the opportunity to meet older patients who have “been through it before.”

To learn more about how the Patient Ambassador Program benefits our patients and families, watch this video

For more information on how to become a patient ambassador for the St. Louis Shriners Hospital, please e-mail Breanna Wyman or call 314-692-6413.

Partnerships with local organizations

Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis partners with a number of local organizations that provide activities, sports and other social opportunities for children with disabilities.

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is a wonderful resource for families who live in the city of St. Louis, St. Louis or St. Charles counties. The council assists individuals with disabilities.

DASA – Disabled Athlete Sports Association

Founded in 1997, the Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA) is a nonprofit organization that serves the greater St. Louis region by providing quality and affordable adaptive sport and fitness opportunities.

DASA programs include archery, functional fitness, sled hockey, swimming lessons, track and field, power soccer, snow skiing and much more.  Recreational programs are offered in quarterly, eight-week sessions varying by season. Competitive programs allow athletes to compete regionally and nationally with the potential of reaching the paralympic level. DASA boasts national championships in sled hockey and power soccer, and is proud to include members and medalists on the U.S. Paralympic Team.

Therapists and care management professionals at the hospital can help you get your child involved with DASA.

NubAbility Athletics

NubAbility Athletics Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids with limb loss get off the bench and into the game. Their team of high school, collegiate and professional athletes teach youth to not only play, but to play the best with less – and win.

Based in Du Quoin, Ill., the organization was founded by Sam Kuhnert who was born without an extra hand and whose determination allowed him to succeed on the high school and college baseball fields. In 2012, he and eight other limb-different coaches came together in Du Quoin to host a summer camp similar to collegiate camps offered for young athletes. Offering training in a variety of sports, from baseball and softball to basketball, football to wrestling, volleyball to dance and cheer, these coaches built the foundation of NubAbility Athletics.

During the three days of camp, youth ranging in age from 4 to 18 learn everything from the basics of their respective sports to workouts and drills to help them continually improve.

NubAbility also hosts individual sports clinics including a baseball and softball clinic; and a P.E. Teach Reach Program that provides an opportunity for schools to deliver an anti-bullying message to their student bodies.

Annual events for inpatients

While your child is staying in the hospital, our recreational therapy/child life department offers a number of activities to provide fun, diversion and socialization for your child. Seasonal celebrations such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter and Christmas season can brighten a child’s stay. Other regular activities throughout the year include:

  • Magic therapy with magicians performing
  • Special visits and parties hosted by members of the Shriners organization, high school groups and university groups
  • Visits from professional sports teams, such as the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues 
  • Organized games, crafts, bingo, activities
  • Performances by local musicians and theatre groups
  • Pet therapy

While staying in the hospital, your child will receive a list of weekly activities planned by the therapists in recreational therapy/child life.