How Do You Advocate for Pediatric Patient's Healthcare Needs?

How Do You Advocate for Pediatric Patient's Healthcare Needs?

Pediatric healthcare advocacy transcends the walls of hospitals and clinics, as echoed by a Certified Child Life Specialist, who emphasizes the importance of virtual support services. Alongside expert perspectives, we've compiled additional answers that provide a broader scope of strategies for championing pediatric healthcare needs. From leveraging technology and social media to partnering with non-profits, discover a spectrum of advocacy methods, culminating in the promotion of pediatric research in publications.

  • Extend Support with Virtual Child Life Services
  • Empower Parents with Controlled Choices
  • Amplify Voices Through Op-Eds and Social Media
  • Lobby for Pediatric Healthcare Funding
  • Integrate Health Education in Schools
  • Partner with Child-Focused Non-Profits
  • Promote Pediatric Research in Publications

Extend Support with Virtual Child Life Services

Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) with Hearts Connected extend their support beyond hospital walls, embracing technology through virtual platforms and offering video calls to provide psychosocial support to children and their parents. These sessions provide crucial emotional support, education, and coping strategies to pediatric patients and families, fostering safe spaces for children to express their feelings, learn about medical procedures, and create a coping plan.

Through engaging in therapeutic activities and advocacy efforts, CCLS ensure that children receive holistic care that addresses their psychosocial needs both within the healthcare system and in the community. CCLS make a significant and positive impact on the well-being of children facing medical challenges, bridging the gap between the clinical setting and the home environment with compassion and expertise.

Suzan WatkinsonCertified Child Life Specialist, Academic & Student Support Advisor, Hearts Connected

Empower Parents with Controlled Choices

The backbone of advocacy is empowering parents to speak up for their children and utilizing the tools we give them in the clinical setting to apply in real-life experiences. These tools include forming a sense of control for the child. Providing a child with a sense of control amidst a chaotic or unpleasant experience can make a world of difference. We can accomplish this by giving them controlled choices and forming statements with clear boundaries, expectations, and outcomes.

For instance, doing a lab draw and saying, "Can I see your arm?" is formulated so the child can answer no and decline what is asked of them. Ultimately, "no" is not an option, and we hinder trust when we still do things after children tell us no. Instead, we need to present a controlled choice to get the task done. Stating, "I need to look at your arm; which one should I look at first?" doesn't give them the choice of avoiding the task, but by presenting choices, it allows the child to feel a sense of control.

Shay Rocco JerzyCertified Child Life Specialist, Ascension St. John Children's Hospital

Amplify Voices Through Op-Eds and Social Media

We play a vital role in advocating for our patients beyond the clinical setting. Writing op-eds and letters to the editor enables us to amplify our voices and educate the public about important healthcare issues affecting children. Engaging on social media platforms further extends our reach, allowing us to connect with parents and disseminate valuable information about preventive care, treatment options, and child health trends. By leveraging social media, we can foster a supportive online community, providing parents with resources and guidance to better advocate for their children's healthcare needs.

Additionally, joining local medical chapters offers opportunities to collaborate with colleagues and organize events that raise awareness about pediatric health concerns within our communities. These events serve as platforms for dialogue, education, and advocacy, empowering us to effect positive change at the grassroots level. Through community outreach initiatives, such as health fairs, workshops, and seminars, we can address prevalent issues like vaccination, mental health, and childhood obesity, while promoting access to quality healthcare services for all children.

By combining these advocacy strategies with our clinical expertise, we are powerful advocates for our patients, both within and beyond the walls of the medical practice. Through proactive engagement and collaborative efforts, we can influence policy decisions, drive public discourse, and ultimately improve the health and well-being of the pediatric population.

Elisha Peterson MD MEd FAAP FASA
Elisha Peterson MD MEd FAAP FASAAnesthesiologist and Pain Medicine Physician, Elisha Peterson MD PLLC

Lobby for Pediatric Healthcare Funding

One effective way to advocate for pediatric healthcare needs is to engage with local and national government representatives and urge them to support initiatives that increase funding for children's health services. This can involve arranging meetings, writing compelling letters, and joining larger groups that have a strong voice in political circles. Care must be taken to present convincing evidence that investing in pediatric healthcare is not only beneficial for children but for society as a whole.

By securing better funding, resources can be allocated to improve facilities, training, and access to care for the youngest patients. Take action by contacting your local representative and expressing the importance of healthcare for children.

Integrate Health Education in Schools

Enhancing health education within schools is another avenue through which pediatric patient advocacy can be achieved. By working together with educational institutions, one can help to integrate comprehensive health curriculums that teach children the value of maintaining their health and well-being. These programs can lead to improved health literacy from a young age, which in turn could result in healthier lifestyle choices and better self-care among children.

It is also an opportunity to identify children who might need additional healthcare support. Reach out to school board members to discuss how health education can be improved in your community.

Partner with Child-Focused Non-Profits

Developing partnerships with non-profits that focus on children's welfare can lead to a synergistic approach to advocating for pediatric healthcare needs. These organizations often have the resources, networks, and expertise needed to make a significant impact. Collaborating with them can amplify efforts, create more substantial programs, and reach more children in need.

It is about building a community around the common goal of enhancing healthcare for children. Explore opportunities to partner with child-focused non-profits and contribute to making a difference in children's health.

Promote Pediatric Research in Publications

One of the less direct but impactful ways to advocate for pediatric healthcare is promoting research in scientific journals and publications. Highlighting new studies, discoveries, and innovations in pediatric care can attract the attention of healthcare professionals and policy-makers. This can lead to a better understanding of pediatric health challenges and the development of more specialized treatments and care protocols.

It is an endeavor that sheds light on the importance of continually improving and investing in pediatric healthcare. Encourage the spread of knowledge by supporting pediatric research in scientific circles.

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