Levine Children’s Home Hospital: Problems and Solutions
Levine Children’s Home is located in Charlotte, NC, and provides medical services for infants and children. The hospital offers over 30 areas of pediatric medicine and has been ranked among the best Children’s Hospital in the past years. The article focuses on the difficulties practitioners face when solving medical mysteries in this facility, how it affects others, and why the problem matters. Further, there is a discussion on secondary and primary solutions to the problem, its respective benefits, and its flaws. Lastly, the implementation of the primary key is detailed.
Children’s cognitive skills make them process information differently, significantly limiting their communication. Therefore, they can’t fully explain their symptoms as they may lack words to say how they feel. For example, a two-year-old may complain about some abdominal pain which no specificities. As a result, a pediatrician may not understand or distinguish the several illnesses related to this symptom. The sign indicated by the child can signify gastroenteritis, appendicitis, or any other ailment (David Geffen School of Medicine, 2019). In most cases, children try to say something that hurts them or scares them, but their verbal limitations always confuse health practitioners.
How It Affects Others
The problem affects three parties in the process. First, children at times feel like their illnesses are a punishment for something wrong they did. They also get frustrated when a health worker administers a painful procedure, hence non-conclusive findings. Second, the practitioners face difficulty figuring out what is wrong with the child. The guessing game always makes pediatricians fearful of misdiagnosis. Lastly, the family members will be affected as, at times, they might be questioned and fear giving out inaccurate information (NCTSN, 2014).
Why It Matters
Treating diseases one is unsure about brings doubts into a practitioner’s way. For example, doctors find it easy to treat adults since they can express all the signs and difficulties they are experiencing. These signs and difficulties are symptoms of the disease they are suffering from; hence their treatment is more straightforward than children’s (Shave et al., 2018). Therefore, communication is essential to eliminate the treatment of mysterious diseases among children.
Possible Secondary Solution
Parents are considered as people who know their children best. Therefore, the inability of the children to express themselves makes the pediatricians talk to their parents. From this, practitioners can get a clue of what the child wants to say but cannot express themselves adequately. The answers are considered almost accurate as they have been in contact with the child the most hence reliability.
Benefits of the Solution
Parents provide the child’s general health history, food allergies, reactions to medicines, past surgeries, and the child’s medications. This information is helpful to the doctor as they can estimate what prescriptions or actions to take. Again, parents can assess if the child’s condition is getting worse or if there are any changes in the child’s behavior. At this time, the practitioner needs to listen to phrases such as “the behavior is unusual” and “he always complains of abdominal pain.” The first statement should raise concerns about a new disease, while the second may mean a recurring illness. There is no chance that a parent can lie about their children’s condition as pediatricians assume they want what is best for their children (David Geffen School of Medicine, 2019). Additionally, parents increase the patient’s customization, improving service provision and safety. This reduces the children’s vulnerability when left alone with people they consider strangers.
Flaws of the Solution
Parent involvement can complicate the treatment and make rushed decisions as they may want to influence the final decision. Sometimes, parents’ cognitive and emotional information on health literacy can hinder the next decision-making exercise. For example, they might push for decisions that are out of the reach of the hospital’s framework. However, these cases constantly change depending on the parents’ demographic characteristics, education level, income, and emotional condition. For example, some parents may want to determine which medication their children need to be given. However, this case is not appropriate given the enhanced and advanced research the medical field always practices.
Furthermore, emotional stress during these challenging moments may hinder their accuracy in information production; hence non-conclusive takes to the pediatrician. Lastly, parents are ordinarily vulnerable at these moments hence the need to be cautious (Aarthun et al., 2019). It eventually leads to the undesirability of trying new medicine as they may disapprove due to unfamiliarity.
Best Solution to the Problem
In most medical facilities, tests are required to determine the extent of a patient’s disease. However, when a person’s life is on the line, there are no second guesses as they may affect the child in the long run. Further, with a weak immune system, children are easily affected by any slight alteration in their body systems. Therefore, they should be handled delicately to avoid calamities resulting from inaccurate information by the emotionally stressed parent.
Benefits of the Solution
With technological advancement, the scope of tests has been expanded as a small sample can be used to test a variety of diseases. With this technology, new devices and drugs have been introduced into the market which can be used to treat most complications in a child’s life. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that there is a need to improve the technology in pediatric homes to prevent children’s deaths. For example, in 2016, 6.6 million children died due to preventable causes of not carrying out the required number of tests on children (WHO, 2018). Reducing these deaths will mean achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3, which involves getting high-quality health coverage (WHO, 2018).
Tests always bring out the most accurate results on whatever the child is suffering from. Asking the parents and the child may bring contradictory information, confusing the medical personnel. Some parents may not have stayed or been keen on their children’s behaviors due to various commitments, and their data may be inconclusive. When the pediatrician is advised to look at the child’s behavior rather than what they are saying, it will bring more confusion. At this time, there is a possibility of getting three different diseases. Therefore, tests in advanced technological devices are advised for accuracy to prevent human vocal and observational errors (Zahreddine et al., 2018).
Flaws of This Solution
Scans and body pricks in children are considered a risky exercise as they can trigger incidental findings that can lead to more tests which are not advisable for children. Furthermore, most of these tests are not always in the child’s best interest. Again, introducing new devices and drugs into a child’s body can alter their normal body functioning due to their fragility. At Levine Children’s hospital, some advanced models and teachings are required for children’s examinations. However, that is not the case for most hospitals, hence being a risky exercise (Zahreddine et al., 2018).
How They Can Be Addressed
Some people will prefer to avoid visiting the pediatrician after seeing multiple tests on their children. However, most specialists will advise against this as they advocate for asking critical questions. For example, a parent needs to ask whether the test is essential or if there is another way to go about it. Additionally, they need to ask about the risks and side effects of the tests. In some cases, some parents may ask for enough time to watch and wait to see if there can be any changes over time. However, this can be risky depending on the disease in question. In most cases, doctors always tell the parents what they might find, but the one question some fail to answer is how the test will help the child. Therefore, a parent needs to have some critical questions answered before allowing for any tests to be conducted on their children (Assathiany et al., 2018)
Steps to carry out test procedures in children are classified into four major parts; before the process, play preparation, and restraints before and during the course. First, before the procedure, the child should be meant to understand the procedure in a language well known to them while avoiding abstract terms. Notably, the explanation limit should be between 5 to 10 minutes due to their short attention span. Second, playing preparation involves demonstrating the procedure to the child in a way that could help eliminate anxiety. In most cases, one should use the child’s favorite toy in the demonstration. Third, children will be restrained as they lack physical control, and coordination and cannot follow commands when tense. Examinations such as x-rays require minimum movement; therefore, a child’s motion should be limited. Lastly, a parent or guardian should be present to maintain physical contact during the procedure. For children to feel safe, they need a familiar presence to reduce the anxiety levels they may be experiencing at the time (Medline Plus, 2020). Finally, the procedure does not have a fixed specific timeframe or cost; they all vary depending on the extent of the exercise.
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David Geffen School of Medicine. (2019). 3 challenges pediatricians face.
Medline Plus. (2020). Toddler test or procedure preparation.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) (2014). Pediatric medical traumatic stress. A comprehensive guide.
Shave, K., Ali, S., Scott, S. D., & Hartling, L. (2018). Procedural pain in children: a qualitative study of caregiver experiences and information needs. BMC Pediatrics, 18(1), 1-10.
World Health Organization. (2018). Standards for improving the quality of care for children and young adolescents in health facilities.
Zahreddine, L., Hallit, S., Shakaroun, S., Al-Hajje, A., Awada, S., & Lahoud, N. (2018). Knowledge of pharmacists and parents towards antibiotic use in pediatrics: A cross-sectional study in Lebanon. Pharmacy Practice (Granada), 16(3).