Examining child life's role in pediatric safe cases

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University of Alabama Libraries

A P-SAFE is a Pediatric Sexual Assault Forensic Examination. Children who are sexually abused and meet the criteria for a SAFE undergo this stressful examination. Certified Child Life Specialists provide psychosocial care to such patients to help minimize negative outcomes, but little is known about the role of child life specialists in this population. This study sought to address the gap in the literature concerning the role of child life specialists with P-SAFE patients. In this study, 21 child life specialists were recruited through the Association of Child Life Professionals’ online forum and answered an online survey. The main research questions asked were: 1. What are Certified Child Life Specialists’ roles in the pediatric SAFE population? 2.What are Certified Child Life Specialists’ perspective of the stressors they see children experience during a SAFE? 3. What are the stressors Certified Child Life Specialists experience working in SAFE population? 4. What training do Certified Child Life Specialists have to work with this population? Data was analyzed through SPSS; any text data was analyzed through semantic analysis. In summary, the results showed child life specialists feel their role is beneficial and they utilize a variety of interventions such as preparation, distraction, and play during P-SAFEs. The child life participants reported the most difficult part of working with this population is hearing their stories; whereas, the most rewarding part is being able to help the children cope with the exam. They also perceived that the greatest stressors for the children are the possibility of re-traumatization as well as the lack of knowledge. Lastly, the child life specialists were trained through a variety of ways such as informal on the job training but lacked formalized training. These findings indicated that CCLS perceive that their role is beneficial and important to P-SAFE patients and there needs to be more research and training within this area.

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Health sciences, Medical personnel