Impact of Child Life Services on Children and Families Admitted to Start the Ketogenic Diet

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Abstract

Traditionally the ketogenic diet is started as an inpatient admission to the hospital. Starting in January 2015, child life services were made formally available during ketogenic diet admissions to help families cope. One-page surveys were then provided to 15 parents on the day of discharge and again after 3 months. Every family believed that the child life services were helpful. Children who were developmentally appropriate/mildly delayed had higher parent-reported anxiety scores than those who were moderate to severely delayed (4.4 vs 1.0, P = .02). At 3 months, child life services were deemed very helpful for the parents (mean score: 8.9, range: 5-10), and were more helpful for the parent than the child (mean 6.2, range 1-10, P = .047). One of the most helpful services was a prior phone call to parents 1 week prior. In this small pilot study, child life involvement during the start of the ketogenic diet was highly useful.

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