More than 210,000 children are admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in North America each year. About 25% will develop psychological and behavioral problems after they leave hospital. We know little about their long-term, psychological recovery, or how to prevent problems from developing. My research will focus on understanding children's psychological and behavioural responses after they leave the PICU, and how to prevent long-term problems. The goal of my research is to promote healthy development in all children who have been critically ill.
My research program has three themes: (1) Children's long-term psychological outcomes after PICU hospitalization; (2) Innovations in care to promote psychological well-being and prevent negative outcomes during and following critical illness; (3) Enhancing patient and family centred care for critically ill children with extensive, lifelong medical conditions who rely on complex medical technology for survival.
Theme 1 consists of one large study. I will follow children for 3 years after they leave the PICU to identify problems they develop and what puts children at risk. I will also test two tools that allow children to describe how they are feeling since being in the hospital.
Theme 2 consists of two studies. In the first study, I will test the use of reading and music to comfort children in the PICU. In the second study, I will develop and then test an intervention to improve care for families of children with severe brain based disability as they move from pediatric to adult care centres.
Theme 3 consists of two studies. In the first study, I will talk to parents of children with medical complexity in the PICU to better understand their care needs. In the second study, I will develop and test an intervention to enhance patient and family-centred care for these children.