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Psychosocial Factors Key in Peds Care for Special-Needs Kids

Report provides guidance for clinicians caring for children and youth with special health care needs

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TUESDAY, Dec. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatric providers need to be aware of the impact of psychosocial factors on the health and wellness of children and youth with special health care needs and their families, according to a clinical report published online Dec. 17 in Pediatrics.

Gerri Mattson, M.D., M.S.P.H., from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh, and colleagues note that medical home teams can partner with children and youth with special health care needs and their families to screen for, assess, and promote psychosocial health to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors.

The authors state that medical home teams can help promote protective psychosocial factors as part of coordinated, comprehensive chronic care. Such a team-based approach can include collaboration with behavioral health providers, specialists, child care providers, schools, social services, and other community agencies. Recommendations in the report include timely assessments of child social-emotional health, parental and/or caregiver depression, and social determinants of health. In addition, pediatric practices should be prepared to make referrals and conduct follow-up to ensure needed services are received.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics urges pediatricians to promote protective psychosocial factors as part of a coordinated comprehensive care for children with special needs and their families," Mattson said in a statement. "A team-based approach with community partners such as child care and schools can help with the mitigation of risk factors and promotion of protective factors such as healthy parenting techniques, stress reduction, and social services, to increase resiliency."

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