Sevilla said she helps parents choose the right words to describe procedures and thus to help dispel any fantasies their child may have about what is going to happen. “The best way to diminish fear is to be honest,” she said. “You can tell the truth without talking about knives and scaring the child.”
Explore This IssueDecember 2010
Although the AAP has endorsed child life services as essential to patient and family centered care (Pediatrics. 2006;118(4):1757-63), these services are currently non-billable. That may change as more research validates what the pediatric otolaryngologists and the child life specialists interviewed said is a part of assisting families to cope with illness in the hospital setting.
A Routine Service
Dr. Baum’s advice to colleagues is to “figure out a way to work with and parallel to” child life specialists. For example, surgeons can work with child life specialists to ensure that their pre- and post-operative instruction sheets are clear and age-appropriate. Community-based otolaryngologists who treat children can contact the Child Life Council for referrals. Specialists can conduct in-services or develop brochures for the office staff.
“I don’t think there’s any question that these people can be a valuable part of the care of children,” Dr. Baum asserted. “You need to make them part of your daily routine.”