Hospitals look to pediatric patients' emotional needs

A pediatrician and his patient

Photo credit: Getty/shironosov

As the business of healthcare becomes increasingly patient-centered, more hospitals are embracing a care delivery strategy that goes above and beyond traditional treatment to address emotional well-being.

Outside-the-box, extracurricular services, such as art and cooking lessons, can have medical benefits for children with life-threatening illnesses, according to the Baltimore Sun. Hospitals increasingly offer such services either on their own or through a partnership with charitable foundations, according to the Sun.

Research shows that such programs can have a domino effect on care quality for critically ill patients, a major concern in an era of value-based care, according to the article, with studies from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Nursing Research showing they can reduce the need for pain medication while improving mobility and patient-provider communication.

The issue, however, is that these offerings are largely the purview of larger providers with more resources, leaving smaller hospitals or those in rural areas comparatively shorthanded. Moreover, in many cases, medical providers simply aren’t trained in talking to patients about subjects so unrelated to traditional care. In 2014, the National Institute of Nursing Research launched its “Palliative Care: Conversations Matter” program to encourage such conversations within the industry.

Such steps are part of a broader trend within healthcare toward “family-centered care,” which pediatric care providers have spearheaded, FierceHealthcare previously reported. For example, Nemours Children’s Health System took such steps as including families in rounding, reducing visitor and technology access obstacles and creating “advisory councils” composed of patients and family caregivers.

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