Pediatric Accidental Trauma: Screening and Reducing Psychological Impact
Autumn J. Lantz
This article explores long-term psychological effects of accidental trauma on pediatric patients and implications for nursing care. A connection between pediatric accidental trauma and long-term psychological sequela is well documented in medical literature. Despite this known connection, low screening rates and psychological referrals continue. Instead, an emphasis is placed on physical recovery. As a result, pediatric patients have full physical recovery but have remaining psychological sequelae that are not addressed. Sequelae often manifests as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders, which often results in poor behavior and coping patterns, learning difficulties, and alterations in brain development. Nurses are integral members of the team responsible for providing care for pediatric trauma patients. Nursing implications include the use of trauma-informed care and appropriate screening techniques. Nurses can identify and provide early intervention to prevent long-term sequela of psychological distress in pediatric patients with accidental trauma.