Dr. Cheryl Geisthardt and CMU senior Carly Jenkins have been researching the effects COVID-19 has on children in hospitals and how child life specialists can help them. A child life specialist is there to support the social, physical, and cognitive needs of the child and family during their time spent in the hospital while medical staff is busy addressing the medical issue. A child’s time in the hospital can be very stressful and can result in emotional and social damage. Dr. Geisthardt and Carly wanted to analyze the emotional effects COVID-19 has on hospitalized children. They found that some of the COVID-19 protocols added extra stress to the adolescent patients and that family-centered care can greatly reduce the level of additional stress. For example, 18-year-old patients are considered adults and are not permitted to bring a family member into the hospital. Although they are considered adults, it still is a scary time especially when hearing new jargon and being asked health questions to which they don't know the answers. CMU’s research shows that allowing a patient to have a parent with them improves the hospital experience by reducing stress.
Dr. Cheryl Geisthardt can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carly Jenkins can be contacted at email@example.com
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Story by ORGS Intern Celeste Janson