Pediatric Psychology in Emergency Services: a Clinical Practice to Follow in Hospital Context

Pedro Dias-Ferreira


Since the beginning of 2016, the team of the Emergency Service (SU) of the Pediatric Department of the Hospital de Santa Maria, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte (HSM-CHULN), counts with another valence in its intervention plan. Traditionally specialized in an approach of organic pathology, the service is now composed of a specialized intervention of Pediatric Psychology. This paper has the purpose of review, deepen and disclose (i) the psychological intervention model that is used in the SU, focused on babies, children and adolescents, as well as on direct/indirect support to families, at a Physical and Mental Health levels, (ii) the developed work in stress management of the emergency team and (iii) the performance of psychologists in the emergency context, as a way to update the intervention protocols within this practice according to international guidelines. The intervention carried in this SU, in situations of emergency, urgency or crisis, resort from strategies that mitigate and treat the intense cognitive, behavioral and emotional malaise of the pediatric patient and families/caregivers, in a interprofessional perspective and always as a first line resource. Given the increase and clinical relevance of the psychological variables, the inclusion of this specialized area presents itself as a sustainable and important intervention for a practice that we wish to be implemented transversally, contributing to the reduction of outpatient visits, therapeutic prescriptions, number of consultations and frequency of hospitalizations. A pre- and postgraduate training that privilege this type of knowledge and enables the implementation of these intervention models in a larger number of institutions presents itself as a sustained practice of health services.


Pediatric psychology; Health psychology; Emergency service; Crisis intervention

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