The Impact of Child Life Specialists in an Outpatient Pediatric Ophthalmology Clinic
Leeanne K. Lackey, CCLS; Sean Donahue, MD, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Introduction: Procedures such as eye drops, examinations, and surgeries can be very stressful for children. In addition, patient satisfaction scores are closely tied to patient and family anxiety. Child Life Specialists (CLS) are psycho-social professionals that use therapeutic play and education to help children cope with medical experiences. To address patient satisfaction issues and minimize patient and caregiver stress, a CLS was introduced into an academic pediatric ophthalmology clinic.
Methods: Press-Ganey (PG) satisfaction scores (percent top box) for one provider were compared before and after hiring the CLS. PG areas where the CLS may have impacted satisfaction scores were compared with those anticipated to not change.
Results: The CLS interacted with approximately 20 patients per day. PG percentile rank scores for overall assessment increased from 50th percentile to the 79th percentile. Moving through visit increased from the 40th percentile to the 94th percentile. The mean score of the other four sections (Access, Friendliness/Courtesy, Nurse/Assistant, and Personal issues) did not change (44th percentile to 44th percentile). Mean visit time did not change (73 ±31 minutes before compared with 72± 30 after).
Discussion: Top box scores showed significant improvement after hiring and implementing child life services.
Conclusion: Child life services in an academic pediatric ophthalmology clinic produced improved patient satisfaction without hindering patient flow, demonstrating that a CLS is a valuable addition to the ophthalmology clinic care team.
References: Percelay, J. M., Betts, J. M., Chitkara, M. B., Jewell, J. A., Preuschoff, C. K., & Rauch, D. A. (2014). Child life services. Pediatrics, 133(5), e1471-e1478.
Thompson, R.H. (2009). Handbook of Child Life. New York: Charles C. Thomas.