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Research and clinical expertise have emphasized the mental health needs of parents and caregivers of medically complex children. Evidence-based interventions are available for adult mental health, including those designed specifically for caregivers caring for children with a variety of health-care needs. This paper describes practical and legal considerations of 3 possible pathways for psychologists to address the needs of caregivers within pediatric hospital settings.
Literature regarding the mental health needs of caregivers of children with medical conditions, evidence-based interventions, and pediatric subspecialty psychosocial guidelines was reviewed. Relevant legal and ethical obligations for psychologists were also summarized.
The mental health needs of caregivers of medically complex children are often high, yet programmatic, institutional, legal, and ethical barriers can limit access to appropriate care.
Significance of the results
Integration of screening and treatment of caregivers’ mental health within the pediatric hospital setting is one pathway to addressing caregivers’ needs. The development of programs for caregiver mental health screening and treatment within pediatric hospital settings will enhance the well-being of children and families and reduce legal and ethical risks for pediatric psychologists. Consultation with institutional compliance, legal/risk, and medical records departments and the creation of electronic medical records for the caregiver may be useful and practical opportunities for integration.
Objectives: This study examined whether children with distinct brain disorders show different profiles of strengths and weaknesses in executive functions, and differ from children without brain disorder. Methods: Participants were children with traumatic brain injury (N=82; 8–13 years of age), arterial ischemic stroke (N=36; 6–16 years of age), and brain tumor (N=74; 9–18 years of age), each with a corresponding matched comparison group consisting of children with orthopedic injury (N=61), asthma (N=15), and classmates without medical illness (N=68), respectively. Shifting, inhibition, and working memory were assessed, respectively, using three Test of Everyday Attention: Children’s Version (TEA-Ch) subtests: Creature Counting, Walk-Don’t-Walk, and Code Transmission. Comparison groups did not differ in TEA-Ch performance and were merged into a single control group. Profile analysis was used to examine group differences in TEA-Ch subtest scaled scores after controlling for maternal education and age. Results: As a whole, children with brain disorder performed more poorly than controls on measures of executive function. Relative to controls, the three brain injury groups showed significantly different profiles of executive functions. Importantly, post hoc tests revealed that performance on TEA-Ch subtests differed among the brain disorder groups. Conclusions: Results suggest that different childhood brain disorders result in distinct patterns of executive function deficits that differ from children without brain disorder. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed. (JINS, 2017, 23, 529–538)
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