New Dimension of Family-Centered Care
Specialist Helps Children Cope With Adult Illness and Injury
Patients and families at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin now have access to a certified child life specialist, a child development expert who helps children cope with the stress of an adult’s illness or injury.
Research shows that with adequate preparation, children who are involved in the hospitalization experience do better than children who are not,” said Lois Pearson, M.Ed., who launched the Child Life Services Program last September.
Preparing children to visit a parent in the ICU is an important part of Pearson’s work. “I talk to children about what they are going to see and hear,” she said. “What they imagine is often scarier than what actually happens in an intensive care setting.”
“Hands-on activities are an effective outlet for many kids,” said Pearson, who recently helped the young children of a surgery patient make a get-well banner for their father’s recovery room (above).
Pearson also helps cancer patients talk to their children or grandchildren about their illness. “Adults often use a lot of euphemisms,” she said. “I help patients provide age-appropriate explanations that enable children to grasp what is going on.”
Child life specialists are common in pediatric hospitals, but rarely available in adult facilities. This service is provided as part of a package of family-centered care at Froedtert & The Medical College.
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: May 2010
Online Editor(s): Robin Schultz