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Returning the child and family to a sense of “normal”

When a child or adolescent is in the hospital, the initial signs of psychological distress can be difficult to pinpoint—or to differentiate from the pain and exhaustion accompanying a serious medical illness. At the same time, parents and other family members may be so focused on the child's hospitalization and day-to-day medical needs that they overlook their own anxiety, depression and frustration.

The Psychiatry Consultation Service recognizes how difficult the hospitalization experience can be for children and families. Our service:

  • supports hospitalized children who are experiencing psychological and behavioral challenges related to their medical illness

  • also supports the families of hospitalized patients

  • helps children come to terms with both newly diagnosed and chronic illnesses

  • prepares patients and families for medical and surgical procedures, including the use of anesthesia and needles

  • helps siblings and other members of the family gain an understanding of the hospitalized child’s situation and deal with their own feelings

Our goal is to help the hospitalized child, parents and siblings face the illness and hospitalization with important coping skills for understanding, accepting and discussing their feelings—and for returning the family to as much of a sense of “normal” as is possible.

Our team members’ research

Boston Children's Department of Psychiatry is recognized worldwide for its advances in child and adolescent mental health research. Researchers on our Psychiatry Consultation Service team are engaged in several significant projects in the areas of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Learn more about our team members and their latest research projects:

  • I. Simona Bujoreanu, PhD, is a staff psychologist at Children’s. She is currently collaborating on a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study that is examining the effects of a cognitive behavioral intervention for children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease and depression.
     
  • Robert Kitts, MD, is a staff psychiatrist at Children’s. He is presently a collaborator on a National Institute of Health-funded study that is analyzing the impact of maternal post-traumatic stress disorder on the reactivity of both mothers and their children. He is also working to identify potential pathways to child health outcomes.
     
  • Melisa Oliva, PsyD, is a staff psychologist at Children’s. She is collaborating on a multicenter study to evaluate novel methods for adherence interventions in transplant patients. In addition, Oliva is involved in a study of how solid organ transplant recipients and their parents perceive their ability to manage self-care at the time of transition.
     
  • David R. DeMaso, MD, Children’s psychiatrist-in-chief, is engaged in research designed to better understand how children and their families respond psychologically to chronic illness. In addition, DeMaso is interested in helping patients and families communicate through the internet and other media technologies.
        
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