Trial ER Programs Are Happening Because Of You

Your donations to the Children’s Hospital Foundation support much needed clinical programs. Last year, that included a trial to see if a Child Life Specialist would benefit the Emergency Department. The results were overwhelming.

The goal of the Child Life Specialist is to promote effective coping and reduce anxiety for children and their families in the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED).

“We hired a full-time Certified Child Life Specialist to introduce child life services to the Pediatric ED,” explains Sheila Hutton, RN, BN, Manager of Patient Care, Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. “Child life services occurred in the waiting room, treatment and exam rooms and the resuscitation room. The Child Life Specialist rotated through all shifts, including evenings and weekends, in order to fully assess the needs of the patients and families in ED, as well as how to best streamline child life services with the ED staff.”

The actions of the Child Life Specialist were varied and included extensive preparation and explanation for children and their families, offering support during procedures, advocating for pain management, facilitating and teaching coping strategies, promoting family-centred care, and providing grief and bereavement support. All while supporting the child’s normal growth and development.

The trial program received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“I can’t say enough good things about Child Life in the ED,” says Dr. Scott Sawyer, Medical Director, Pediatric Emergency Department, HSC Children’s Hospital. “We have had more families reach out to us with positive feedback this year than in any other year since I have been section head, and it is amazing how often the Child Life Specialist is identified as the element that made that family’s experience so good.”

Child Life interventions resulted in countless benefits including increased patient cooperation, decreased anxiety for children and their families, reductions in post-hospital emotional upset, increased parental satisfaction, effective management of ED wait times, improved staff efficiency and improved coping skills for children.

“The greatest value from this grant was increased patient, family and staff satisfaction,” says Hutton. “Children benefited from a more positive hospital experience, and we received extremely positive and impressive survey results from families, nurses and physicians. The program was an enormous success!”

Because of you this program was given an opportunity to start and will continue to grow and develop. Your donations are helping sick kids, and their families, feel better!