Link for Injured Kids: A Patient-Centered Program of Psychological First Aid After Trauma

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Abstract

Objective

Injury, the most common type of pediatric trauma, can lead to a number of adverse psychosocial outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder. Currently, few evidence-based parent programs exist to support children hospitalized after a traumatic injury. Using methods in evaluation and intervention research, we completed a formative research study to develop a new program of psychological first aid, Link for Injured Kids, aimed to educate parents in supporting their children after a severe traumatic injury.

Methods

Using qualitative methods, we held focus groups with parents and pediatric trauma providers of children hospitalized at a Level I Children's Hospital because of an injury in 2012. We asked focus group participants to describe reactions to trauma and review drafts of our intervention materials.

Results

Health professionals and caregivers reported a broad spectrum of emotional responses by their children or patients; however, difficulties were experienced during recovery at home and upon returning to school. All parents and health professionals recommended that interventions be offered to parents either in the emergency department or close to discharge among admissions.

Conclusions

Results from this study strongly indicate a need for posttrauma interventions, particularly in rural settings, to support families of children to address the psychosocial outcomes in the aftermath of an injury. Findings presented here describe the process of intervention development that responds to the needs of an affected population.

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