Baby Care :: Child life programs essential for pediatric health care

Child life programs, which address psychosocial issues and provide information to children and families pertaining to hospital stays, surgery or procedures, illness, and other health care experiences, are an essential component of quality pediatric health care for children and families, says a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.

Most hospitals specializing in pediatric care have child life programs, as well as many inpatient pediatric health care centers, ambulatory clinics, emergency departments, rehabilitation settings, hospice programs, and even some dental and physician offices.

According to the policy statement, “Child Life Services,” an optimal program is staffed by qualified child life specialists, with an appropriate ratio of specialists per number of child patients.

The policy recommends the inclusion of child life programs in more home health, hospice and bereavement programs. It also states that child life programs should never be withheld for lack of reimbursement.

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