Cheryl Murray
April 30, 2007

Preliminary Research Draft - the Business Side of Child Life

    As I very much discovered during my comprehensive exam process, there is not much research related to the field of Child Life.  Also, as discussed in class, as health care funding decreases, hospitals will continue to try to cut costs in the hospital.  For a executive, business-minded board member making financial decisions for a hospital, Child Life may seem like one of the areas that needs to be cut.  I think that research can be used as rationale for the continuation of Child Life in a hospital setting.

    To do this kind of research, I would want to use a variety of measures, both qualitative and quantitative.  I would use surveys to give to patients (who are old enough), parents, family members, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to assess their experiences with Child Life.  I would also want to use medical data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc. as support as well.  Interviews could also be conducted with patients and families regarding their experiences in the hospital with Child Life.  I would probably do this research in about 10 different hospitals, sampling various departments within each hospital.  This data could then be compiled to show how and why Child Life should remain in the hospital setting. 

INTRODUCTION
(Introduce topic and cite with appropriate sources)  Here, I would want to discuss in general what Child Life does.  I would talk about the services that Child Life provides to children and families in the hospital.  I would also want to discuss the benefits that can be a result of Child Life interacting with children and families.  I would want to discuss child and family development theories to address why the Child Life role is important from a developmental perspective.  I would cite sources appropriately including child health articles, child development theorists, and Child Life articles. 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Two questions arise.
•    First, is Child Life effective?
•    Second, is Child Life “worth” the money and funding that hospitals put into the program?

METHODOLOGY
Sampling
Samples could potentially come from one hospital that has a strong Child Life program and one that does not or does not have a program at all.  This may be difficult considering the kind of research questions which we are seeking to answer.  However, it might be helpful to compare a hospital that had Child Life with one that did not.  Sampling would include various patients, families, doctors, and other staff from various areas in the hospital (e.g. pre-surgery, ER, oncology, basic unit, etc.).

Operationalization
•    First, is Child Life effective?  I could use surveys to measure the feeling people have after receiving Child Life services.  I could give out surveys to children and families after they have left the hospital.  I could also administer oral surveys after a certain service, such a preparation for a procedure, coping during a painful procedure, or advocating for child and family’s needs.  I could also interview staff, such as doctors or nurses, to see if they see a difference in children and families when Child Life is involved.  Often doctors and nurses request Child Life to be present for certain events and procedures.  This kind of information would help to support this effectiveness argument.  Quotes from children and families would be useful for this section.
•    Second, is Child Life “worth” the money and funding that hospitals put into the program? As Dr. Witt said, there would have to be certain goals defined for Child Life and an anaylsis of if and how those goals are being met.  Information claiming that Child Life exceeds their goals would also be helpful.  Decrease in hospital stay, more rapid recovery, decrease in blood pressure, etc. are all examples of data which could be used to promote this section.  Again, doctor and nurses inputs about how worthwhile Child Life is in the hospital would also be helpful.  Chart notes from Child Life Specialists detailing the services they provide daily would be good information as well.

Statistical Analysis
    As Dr. Witt stated, this section might be difficult.  Medical information, such as heart rates and blood pressure could be compared.  Also, length of stay in the hospital could be noted as well.  If a survey is given to children and families as they leave the hospital, answers from the survey could be analyzed in statistical form. 

REFERENCES
Barkley, M. E. & Stephens, B. K. (2000).  Comfort measures during invasive procedures:  The role of the Child Life Specialist.  Child Life Focus, 2, (1), 1-4). 
Brewer, S., Gleditsch, S. L., Syblik, D., Tietjens, M.E. & Vacik, H.W.  (2006).  Pediatric     anxiety:  Child Life intervention in day surgery.  Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 21(1), 13-    22.
Dixon, W. E. (2003). Twenty Studies that Revolutionized Child Psychology. New Jersey:     Prentice Hall.
Galvin, E., et al. (2000). Challenging the Precepts of Family-Centered Care: Testing a Philosophy. Pediatric Nursing, 26(6), 625-632.
Gaynard, et al. (1998).  Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals:  A Clinical Practice manual from the ACCH Child Life Research Project.  New Jersey:  CLC, Inc. 
Hockenberrry, M.J. (2005).  Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing, Seventh Edition.  Missouri:  Mosby, Inc.
Rubin, S. (1992).  What’s in a name?  Child Life and the play lady legacy.  Children’s Health     Care, 21(1), 4-13.
Skalko, T. K. (1984).  Documentation:  Key to survival in Child Life services.  Children’s     Health Care, 13(2), 85-88.
Thomas, R. M.  (2005). Comparing Theories of Child Development.  California: Wadsworth     Publishing Company.


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Cheryl Murray
April 4, 2007

Preliminary Research Draft

            As I very much discovered during my comprehensive exam process, there is not much research related to the field of Child Life.  Also, as discussed in class, as health care funding decreases, hospitals will continue to try to cut costs in the hospital.  For a executive, business-minded board member making financial decisions for a hospital, Child Life may seem like one of the areas that needs to be cut.  I think that research can be used as rationale for the continuation of Child Life in a hospital setting.
            To do this kind of research, I would want to use a variety of measures, both qualitative and quantitative.  I would use surveys to give to patients (who are old enough), parents, family members, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to assess their experiences with Child Life.  I would also want to use medical data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, etc. as support as well.  Interviews could also be conducted with patients and families regarding their experiences in the hospital with Child Life.  I would probably do this research in about 10 different hospitals, sampling various departments within each hospital.  This data could then be compiled to show how and why Child Life should remain in the hospital setting.   

BUSINESS LOOK AT CHILD LIFE
(Introduce topic and cite with appropriate sources)

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Two questions arise. METHODOLOGY
Sampling
Samples could potentially come from one hospital that has a strong Child Life program and one that does not or does not have a program at all.  More on this later
Think about some kind of custoer satisfaction survey - after a short training period for the Child Life department staff dealing with satisfying the parents of children in the hospital,
start gathering surveys into a database.

Operationalization
Statistical Analysis
Comparative data might be difficult - since you are making an argument based on one hospital's experience with cls. So average scores, like the IDEA teaching evaluations might work.


REFERENCES

What's in a Name? Child Life and the Play Lady Legacy
Children's Health Care, Vol. 21, Issue: 1, January 1992. pp. 4-13  Rubin, Stefi
Abstract: Child life specialists can now earn a nationally recognized credential as a "Certified Child Life Specialist" from the Child Life Certifying Commission Yet, uncertainties linger about the nature of the child life specialist's identity roles, and status among health care professionals This article highlights the historical contexts within which a series of significant changes occurred in the profession's name How Emma Plank and Thest Bergmann, two pioneering authors in the field, influenced and…
Documentation: Key to Survival in Child Life Services
Children's Health Care, Vol. 13, Issue: 2, September 1984. pp. 85-88  Skalko, Thomas K.
With the increased demands placed on hospital resources, the need for a comprehensive documentation and program accountability system becomes paramount In addition to the provision of services, the child life specialist must generate written program descriptions and policy and procedure manuals, participate actively m patient charting, maintain quantitative records of clientele served, and perform program evaluation It is only through such comprehensive documentation efforts that child life…

Pediatric Anxiety: Child Life Intervention in Day Surgery
Journal of Pediatric Nursing, Vol. 21, Issue: 1, February, 2006. pp. 13-22  Brewer, Stephanie; Gleditsch, Shannon L.; Syblik, Dorothy; Tietjens, Mary E.; Vacik, Heidi W.
Although many hospitals offer a surgical preparation program to children and families, minimal research has been conducted specifically on preparation by child life specialists. The purpose of this double-blind intervention study was to determine if children prepared for day surgery by a child life specialist exhibited less anxiety than those who received routine standard of care. One hundred forty-two children, aged between 5 and 11 years old, undergoing elective otolaryngology surgery…