Sample Abstract – Research Track Title: Summary:

Sample Abstract – Research Track
Child Life in the ED: A Driving Force for Quality Care
Summary: This presentation will demonstrate the impact of child life in the emergency department, on
quality care, patient satisfaction and interdisciplinary collaboration. Results of a pilot study on child life
interventions on laceration repair will be shared, which include lower patient/parent anxiety and
increased parent satisfaction. A panel of child life, administration and physician will discuss the value of
addressing psychosocial needs and how partnering with child life ensures quality, improves satisfaction
and impacts the organizations’ bottom line.
Attendees will understand how child life interventions impact quality care and interdisciplinary
collaboration in the peds ED
Attendees will understand how child life interventions can impact the bottom line.
Attendees will understand current research and future initiatives for child life interventions in the ED.
Domain and task:
Domain III (intervention), task 4
Today’s competitive healthcare arena demands that healthcare facilities not just meet customer’s
expectations, but exceed them. Establishing a culture of quality is on the forefront of all children’s
healthcare initiatives as we aggressively compete for a finite number of resources. Hospitals must look
beyond traditional methods to enhance quality of care, improve patient satisfaction and enhance
collaboration with the interdisciplinary team. Child life specialists play a vital role in this process.
Through research, this presentation will demonstrate the impact of child life in this process by
examining their role in the pediatric emergency department.
Research has demonstrated that emergency department visits for injured children are highly stressful
experiences, especially when they include a painful procedure (Grantz, 1984; Resnick, 1975; Edwinson,
Arnbjornsson & Elkman, 1988; Alcock, Feldman,Goodman, McGrath & Park, 1985; Tiedeman &
Cladworthy, 1990; Elliott & Woody, 1987) . This pilot study explored the impact of preparation and
distraction on procedure-related distress in children treated for laceration repair in the emergency
department (Gursky, Kestler & Lewis, 2010).
A quasi-experimental study was conducted using a convenience sample procedure. Distress and parent
ratings of satisfaction were compared between children who received individualized interventions for
laceration repair provided by a child life specialist and children who received no intervention.
Twenty-four subjects, aged 3 – 13 years were recruited from a pediatric emergency department within a
university medical center. Patients receiving the intervention were provided with pre-procedure age
appropriate information relating to the laceration repair and distraction during the procedure. All
interventions were provided by a child life specialist, based on a standardized protocol. The preparation
was standardized at 15 minutes and included child life specialist introduction to patient/family,
explanation of the suturing procedure using a doll to demonstrate, and role playing each step of the
laceration repair including age appropriate definitions. The specialist also asked the child and parents
what normally helps them cope when they are stressed, and then provided age appropriate distraction.
Children were also encouraged to ask questions and share any concerns. The comparison group
received standard nursing care before and during suturing without any individualized preparation or
Results of the pilot study showed that children who received child life interventions had lower observed
distress behaviors during suturing compared with patients who did not receive the intervention. Results
also showed that parents of patients who received the intervention perceived less distress in their
children and rated their overall care significantly higher. These results, along with Press Ganey reports
and anecdotal information will be shared to demonstrate child life as a driving force in improving patient
satisfaction, increasing return likelihood to your facility, thus contributing to the bottom line. Physicians
and administration will also share observations that include child life interventions resulting in
decreased procedural times, decreased anxiety, and increased compliance and better comprehension by
caregivers of procedures.
Relevance to child life practice:
The findings of this study have significant implications for child life practice and children’s health care as
a whole, as to better supporting patient and family needs when a child enters the emergency
department. This will ensure that healthcare facilities recognize the contribution of child life specialists
to quality care and the bottom line. Continued research in this arena will demonstrate that child life
interventions and their involvement as a key member of any interdisciplinary team will result in “return
use” of hospital services, thus participating in the overall revenue of the organization.
Organization of presentation:
Description of hospital’s child life role in the ED
Overview of research study
a. Measurement tools
b. Study flow chart
c. Preparation protocol
d. Results
Value added
Emergency department statistics
Patient satisfaction implications
a. Specific results and future directions
b. Impact to the bottom line
Anecdotal information and results
Revenue information related to child life/patient satisfaction
Building a case for senior leadership
Future implications
Grantz RR. Children’s responses to emergency department care. Ann Emerg Med. 1984;13:322–333.
Resnick R. Children and the emergency room. Child Today. 1975;4:5–8.
Edwinson M, Arnbjornsson E, Elkman R. Psychologic preparation program for children undergoing acute
appendectomy. Pediatrics. 1988;82:30–36.
Alcock DS, Feldman W, Goodman JT, McGrath PH, Park JM. Evaluation of child life intervention in
emergency department suturing. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1985;1:111–115.
Tiedeman ME, Clatworthy S. Anxiety responses of 5–11 year old children during and after hospitalization.
J Pediatr Nursing. 1990;5:334–343.
Elliott CH, Jay SM,Woody P. An observation scale for measuring children’s distress during medical
procedures.J Pediatr Psychol. 1987;12:543–551.
Gursky B, Keslter L, Lewis M. The impact of psychological interventionon procedure related distress in
children being treated for laceration repair in the pediatric emergency department. J Dev and Be Pediatr.
2012; 31: 217-222.