A radiology study showed that child life intervention reduced the number of pediatric MRI patients who needed sedation to complete their procedures (Durand et al, 2015).
The authors compared a baseline period where child life evaluations and interventions were only provided by referral to an intervention period where all patients 5-18 years scheduled for MRIs lasting an hour or less had a mandatory child life evaluation before referral for general anesthesia. During the baseline period 23.18% of patients completed their MRIs with general anesthesia while during the intervention period this dropped to 19.16%.
Additionally, during the intervention period 52% of child life referrals resulted in MRIs without general anesthesia, with the procedure completed successfully 98.4% of the time. Of the successful MRIs, 73% required no sedation of any kind while 27% received diazepam, an anti-anxiety medication (Durand et al, 2015).
While the study did not specifically explore the financial aspects of this intervention, there are implications that child life intervention reduced costs (anesthesia staff time, anesthesia costs) and improved department workflow (no need to hold patient for post-anesthesia care).