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Evidence-Based Practice Statements

CLC Evidence-Based Practice Statements

Child life specialists recognize that clinical care and decision-making must be grounded in evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice represents an integration of clinical experience, the best available research, and patient preference/needs. The Child Life Council has supported the review and analysis of outcome research that specifically addresses child life practices in order to give child life professionals the evidence they need to continually advance quality of practice and to communicate with others about child life work. We are pleased to offer a series of evidence-based practice (EBP) statements, commissioned by the CLC Board of Directors.

Child Life Assessment

Summary:  The key considerations for child life assessment are the child’s temperament and coping style, the parental level of anxiety and the number of invasive medical procedures. Although child life specialists have a primary role in psychosocial care, evidence-based practice models support inter-professional collaboration (e.g. child life and social work) as a means of addressing complex issues associated with child and family adaptation to hospitalization.

Review a Summary of the EBP Statement on Child Life Assessment (3 pgs, 124 KB)

Review the complete EBP Statement on Child Life Assessment (16 pgs, 210 KB)


Preparing Children and Adolescents for Medical Procedures 

Summary:  An extensive review of the literature along with child life clinical experience have validated that most children prepared for medical procedures experience significantly lower levels of fear and anxiety compared to children who are not prepared. Preparation also promotes long-term coping and adjustment to future medical challenges.

 Review the One-Page Summary of the EBP Statement on Preparation (2 pgs, 109 KB)

Review the complete EBP Statement on Preparation (13 pgs, 228 KB)

Therapeutic Play in Pediatric Health Care

Summary:  Empirical evidence provides support for the effectiveness of therapeutic play in reducing psychological and physiological stress in hospitalized children. Additional research is necessary regarding the effectiveness of specific forms of therapeutic play, as well as how children in hospital perceive the value of these play experiences. By obtaining children’s perspectives on therapeutic play, evidence-based practice in child life can be enhanced.

Review the updated EBP statement on  Therapeutic Play in Pediatric Health Care (14 pgs, 476 KB) 

Review the original EBP Statement on Therapeutic Play (10 pgs, 189 KB)  or the orignal One-Page Summary of the EBP Statement on Therapeutic Play (2 pgs, 117 KB) 


CLC-Reviewed Evidence-Based Practice Statements 

The following statements have been evaluated and approved by members of CLC's Evidence-Based Practice Committee using a standardized set of criteria.  Statements are evaluated on authority, objectivity, authenticity, reliability, supporting evidence, relevance to clinical practice, and organization of information. 

Providing Most Effective Child Life Care for Patients Having General Anesthesia 

Summary: Providing coping skills to children in a pre-operative area using coping strategies such as therapeutic play, desensitization, modeling/rehearsal, touring all relevant surgery areas, answering questions, and alleviating misconceptions can help reduce maladaptive behavior post-operatively. It can also decrease a child’s anxiety pre-operatively and increase child cooperation. If children are only provided verbal preparation, these effects are not noted.

EBP Statement - Providing Most Effective Child Life Care for Patients Having General Anesthesia
(Please click the above link, Browse by speciality/discipline, select "C", scroll to Child Life, and select the above titled statement)

Reducing Pain for Children and Adolescents Receiving Injections

Summary: While supporting children and families, child life specialists observed inconsistencies during injections in regards to position and care.  Our goals are to increase patient and family satisfaction and decrease unwarranted variation in care.  Based on the evidence, it is strongly recommended that age-appropriate interventions such as sucrose solution, breastfeeding, and holding an infant; distraction; topical agents; preparation; positioning; breathing exercises; hypnosis; sequential injection and rapid combined injection technique be used to reduce pain during injections.  

EBP Statement - Reducing Pain for Children and Adolescents Receiving Injections
(Please click the above link, Browse by speciality/discipline, select "C", scroll to Child Life, and select the above titled statement)


Evidence-Based Practice Statement Submissions

In addition to the statements commissioned directly by the Child Life Council, the Evidence-Based Practice Committee is interested in sharing EBP statements from other sources with the child life professional community. If you have previously published or are aware of an appropriate statement, we ask you to consider submitting an application for review. Please visit EBP Statement Submissions for additional information.