Has anyone walked through a children’s hospital and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the adult hospitals were like this?” Personally, this thought has often come to mind, for I see all the wonderful programs that children’s hospitals have, the focus on creating a family-centered environment, a place for healing the whole person and not just the broken bone, and I wonder if adult hospitals should take a page out of the pediatric hospital’s book. Not only that, but I can’t count the number of times an adult has said to me after I explain my job, “I wish they did this for adults!”
Does this mean adults are wanting to given toys and games meant for preschool kids, or play with the plastic Fisher Price doctor’s kit? It’s possible, but I doubt it. I think what they are looking for is the whole person approach, and the focus on including the whole family. They want someone to explain the medical procedures without any jargon and in a way they can understand. They want others to realize that while adults don’t need a playroom fully of dress-up, magical pretend toys, and infant mosh pits, they would really appreciate a place where they can get away from their room and engage in projects, games, and books that appeal to adults.
You might at this point be wondering what spurred this topic. I got an email which included a link to a news article about a medical student who holds a similar view. In fact, he wrote an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you subscribe to the full journal, you can read his editorial here. If you don’t, you can read a review of his article for free here. I think these articles bring up a great point, and perhaps in the future we might have a version of child life specialists who work with adults. I wonder if they’ll be called “adult life specialists”!
Treat Me Like a Child From JAMA
Why Adult Hospitals Should Be More Like Children’s Hospitals From Fierce Healthcare