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Concept: Child life specialist


Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime. Pediatric providers have a unique opportunity to encourage parents to engage in this important and enjoyable activity with their children beginning in infancy. Research has revealed that parents listen and children learn as a result of literacy promotion by pediatricians, which provides a practical and evidence-based opportunity to support early brain development in primary care practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatric providers promote early literacy development for children beginning in infancy and continuing at least until the age of kindergarten entry by (1) advising all parents that reading aloud with young children can enhance parent-child relationships and prepare young minds to learn language and early literacy skills; (2) counseling all parents about developmentally appropriate shared-reading activities that are enjoyable for children and their parents and offer language-rich exposure to books, pictures, and the written word; (3) providing developmentally appropriate books given at health supervision visits for all high-risk, low-income young children; (4) using a robust spectrum of options to support and promote these efforts; and (5) partnering with other child advocates to influence national messaging and policies that support and promote these key early shared-reading experiences. The AAP supports federal and state funding for children’s books to be provided at pediatric health supervision visits to children at high risk living at or near the poverty threshold and the integration of literacy promotion, an essential component of pediatric primary care, into pediatric resident education. This policy statement is supported by the AAP technical report “School Readiness” and supports the AAP policy statement “Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science Into Lifelong Health.”

Concepts: Medicine, Infant, Physician, Childhood, Developmental psychology, Pediatrics, Medical school, Child life specialist


A safety event response team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center developed and tested improvement strategies to reduce peripheral intravenous (PIV) infiltration and extravasation injuries. Improvement activities included development of the touch-look-compare method for hourly PIV site assessment, staff education and mandatory demonstration of PIV site assessment, and performance monitoring and sharing of compliance results. We observed a significant reduction in the injury rate immediately following implementation of the interventions that corresponded with monitoring compliance in performing hourly assessments on patients with a PIV, but this was not sustained. The team is currently examining other strategies to reduce PIV injuries.

Concepts: Hospital, Evaluation, Surgery, Physician, Educational psychology, Pediatrics, Children's hospital, Child life specialist


Abstract Background: Families with young children often struggle to talk about and cope with a parent’s life-threatening illness and potential death. Adult interdisciplinary palliative medicine teams often feel unprepared to facilitate the open communication with these children that has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and other behavioral problems. In pediatric settings, child life specialists routinely provide this support to hospitalized children as well as their siblings and parents. Although these services are the standard of care in pediatrics, no research reports their use in the care of children of adults with serious illness. Objective: Our aim is to describe a pilot child life consultation service for the children of seriously ill adult inpatients. Design: We summarize the support needs of these children, their families, and the medical staff caring for them and report our experience with developing a child life consultation service to meet these needs. Setting/Subjects: Our service assists seriously ill adult inpatients and their families in a university medical center. Results: Informal feedback from families and staff was uniformly positive. During consultations, family and child coping mechanisms were assessed and supported. Interventions were chosen to enhance the children’s processing and self-expression and to facilitate family communication. Conclusion: All hospitals should consider providing broad-based in-service training enabling their staff to improve the support they offer to the children of seriously ill parents. Medical centers with access to child life services should consider developing a child life consultation service to further enhance this support. More research is needed to evaluate both the short- and long-term clinical impact of these interventions. AA was a 54-year-old man with severe liver damage caused by blunt trauma during a farming accident months earlier. His course was complicated by hemorrhage, multiple infections, and surgeries, and ultimately multi-organ system failure requiring extensive life-sustaining interventions. The palliative care service was consulted by the intensive care unit (ICU) team 3 days prior to AA’s death. A family meeting was held with his wife, sister, and sister-in-law, during which they chose not to further escalate medical interventions. It was clear to all involved that AA was dying. It was equally clear that it would be hard to let him go. Foremost among his family members' many concerns was how they would talk to his three children, ages 7 to 15 years old, during a planned visit to the hospital. Struggling with her own sense of impending loss, AA’s wife needed emotional support and the words to tell her children that their father was going to die. The children needed help to hear and process those words. A child life specialist was consulted.

Concepts: Family, Medicine, Oncology, Palliative care, Hospice, Suffering, Cicely Saunders, Child life specialist


Within Europe, the UK has one of the highest rates of self-harm, with a particularly high prevalence in children and young people (CYP). CYP who are admitted to paediatric hospital wards with self-harm are cared for by registered children’s nurses who have been identified to lack specific training in caring for this patient group. This may impede the delivery of high quality care. Therefore, this study aims to co-produce, implement and evaluate an education programme for registered children’s nurses to improve their knowledge, attitudes and confidence when caring for CYP admitted with self-harm.

Concepts: Hospital, Physician, United Kingdom, Computer program, Pediatrics, Children's hospital, The Delivery, Child life specialist


Child life programs are an important component of pediatric hospital-based care to address the psychosocial concerns that accompany hospitalization and other health care experiences. Child life specialists focus on the optimal development and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults while promoting coping skills and minimizing the adverse effects of hospitalization, health care, and/or other potentially stressful experiences. Using therapeutic play, expressive modalities, and psychological preparation as primary tools, in collaboration with the entire health care team and family, child life interventions facilitate coping and adjustment at times and under circumstances that might otherwise prove overwhelming for the child. Play and developmentally appropriate communication are used to: (1) promote optimal development; (2) educate children and families about health conditions; (3) prepare children and families for medical events or procedures; (4) plan and rehearse useful coping and pain management strategies; (5) help children work through feelings about past or impending experiences; and (6) establish therapeutic relationships with patients, siblings, and parents to support family involvement in each child’s care.

Concepts: Family, Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Developmental psychology, Personal life, The Child, Child life specialist


Ensuring optimal health for children requires a population-based approach and collaboration between pediatrics and public health. The prevention of major threats to children’s health (such as behavioral health issues) and the control and management of chronic diseases, obesity, injury, communicable diseases, and other problems cannot be managed solely in the pediatric office. The integration of clinical practice with public health actions is necessary for multiple levels of disease prevention that involve the child, family, and community. Although pediatricians and public health professionals interact frequently to the benefit of children and their families, increased integration of the 2 disciplines is critical to improving child health at the individual and population levels. Effective collaboration is necessary to ensure that population health activities include children and that the child health priorities of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), such as poverty and child health, early brain and child development, obesity, and mental health, can engage federal, state, and local public health initiatives. In this policy statement, we build on the 2013 AAP Policy Statement on community pediatrics by identifying specific opportunities for collaboration between pediatricians and public health professionals that are likely to improve the health of children in communities. In the statement, we provide recommendations for pediatricians, public health professionals, and the AAP and its chapters.

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Infant, Health, Epidemiology, Pediatrics, Population health, Child life specialist


A survey of paediatric higher specialist trainees was carried out in 2002 assessing career intentions and perception of training. Fourteen years later, with increased numbers of trainees and a national model of care and a tertiary paediatric hospital on the horizon, we re-evaluated the career intentions of the current trainee workforce.

Concepts: Training, Pediatrics, Children's hospital, Child life specialist


Medication errors are not uncommon in hospitalized patients. Paediatric patients may have increased risk for medication errors related to complexity of weight-based dosing calculations or problems with drug preparation and dilution. This study aimed to determine the incidence of medication errors in paediatric anaesthesia in a university paediatric hospital, and to identify their characteristics and potential predictive factors.

Concepts: Hospital, Physician, Pediatrics, Pharmaceutical drug, Children's hospital, Child life specialist


The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital launched an innovative Technology-Based Patient and Family Engagement Consult Service in 2014. This paper describes our initial experience with this service, characterizes health-related needs of families of hospitalized children, and details the technologies recommended to promote engagement and meet needs.

Concepts: Marriage, Hospital, Physician, Economics, Pediatrics, Children's hospital, Child life specialist


Medical neglect is under-researched and the extent of the problem in Australia is unknown. We conducted a review of the referrals for medical neglect to the Child Protection Unit (CPU) at a tertiary children’s hospital in Sydney over a 5 years period, from 2011 to 2016, to determine what medical conditions are being referred, the reason for the medical neglect concern and whether cases are managed in line with American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guideline on medical neglect. 61 cases of medical neglect were identified, constituting 4.1% of all referrals to the Child Protection Unit for physical abuse and neglect. There was a wide variety of medical conditions. Most were chronic medical conditions (87%). The top two medical conditions were chronic and complex multi-system disorders (37.7%) and endocrine disorders (18%). The majority of medical neglect were related to concerns that the caregivers were unwilling to follow medical advice (45.9%) or unable to provide necessary medical care (26.2%). In line with the AAP guideline on medical neglect, all cases were managed by addressing communication difficulties (100%) and resource issues were addressed in 80% of cases. A report to statutory child protection agencies was made in 50% of cases. Directly observed therapy and medical contracts were used in 30% and 26% of cases. We conclude that children with chronic medical conditions may be at risk of medical neglect. Communication difficulties were a factor in all cases. Statutory agency intervention is often required.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Physician, Pediatrics, Medical school, Abuse, Children's hospital, Child life specialist