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© 2019 Lerwick J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

CASE STUDY | OPEN ACCESSDOI: 10.23937/2474-3674/1510086

Psychosocial Considerations for Pediatric Care in Emergency Departments

Julie Lerwick, PhD, LPC, NCC, RPT*

Assistant Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Sport & Performance Psychology, University of Western States, USA


When pediatric patients are admitted into emergency departments a different course of psychological care is required. Often, when admitted, children are scared and in pain. Fear and pain at any age introduces unexpected behavioral responses, and this is not an exception for children. This makes children quite vulnerable in emergency departments, regardless if caregivers are trained to work with pediatric patients. Within the urgency of delivering emergent medical care, as well as maintaining strong statistics noting minutes of care, there is little time for explanations or emotional containment for pediatric patients. Emergency medical caregivers can mitigate potential fear and reduce behavioral issues in their pediatric patients by implementing developmentally appropriate psychosocial interventions. The following case study focuses on choice-giving as a means of offering psychological safety to pediatric patients in the emergency department.