Sun, Mar 24, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Foundation campaigns for child-friendly medical care

LIMITED:The foundation said that although medical staff would like to comfort distressed children, they are often unable to because of their busy schedules

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The philosophy behind the establishment of child-friendly medical care is “Children need more than medicine to get well,” and child-care specialists are a crucial element, the Raising Children Medical Foundation said yesterday.

Frank Wu (吳春福), chairman of the foundation that has been pushing for child-friendly medical care in Taiwan and sponsoring people with different expertise to go the US to obtain Certified Child Life Specialist accreditation, said that the foundation’s goal is “to build an ideal pediatric medical care environment.”

“The first step to reaching this goal is to enhance both the ‘hardware’ by creating child-friendly spaces in hospitals and the ‘software,’ including implementing supportive measures for the children and their families to ease anxiety and trauma,” he said.

Distressed children and their anxious parents are a common sight in hospitals and clinics, but medical staff can do less than they would like to because of their busy schedules. This is where a child life specialist comes in,” the foundation said.

Child life specialists are pediatric healthcare professionals who help children and families to navigate emotional and psychological challenges brought on by children’s hospitalization and illness.

Fang Mei-chi (方美祈) was one of the people who was funded by the foundation to be trained and accredited as a child life specialist in the US.

Seeing that children are no longer frightened when they receive the necessary treatment alone makes the endeavors of promoting child-friendly medical services worthwhile, Fang said.

Art therapist Lin Hsiao-ping (林曉萍) initially thought art therapy was solely for psychological treatment, but found that it could also be used to treat children.

Now a child art therapist in Hualien, Lin said that art therapy allows children to express their feelings through creativity, playing a supportive and comforting role in the course of a child’s hospital stay.

Child patients and their families are at the center of child-friendly medical services, the foundation said.

Because child life specialists acquaint children with the medical environment and prepare them psychologically for the coming medical procedures, they also provide guidance to the families, whose support matters greatly for the children under treatment.

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