They Don't Believe my Pain is Real: Improving Care for Patients with Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Somatic symptom and related disorders (SSRD) are a group of mental health disorders occurring in all patient populations. Typically considered outside of the child life scope of practice, child life specialists can play an instrumental role in streamlining support and diagnosis. Participants will learn how to recognize SSRD through the child life assessment, adapt care plans, and create resources to improve patient care and benefit hospitals fiscally. SUGGESTED DOMAIN: Professional Responsibility
Discuss factors that indicate that a patient may have somatic symptom and related disorders (SSRD) when completing a child life assessment.
Explore a modified child life care plan which supports patients with suspected or diagnosed SSRD.
Examine how the child life role on the interdisciplinary team improves optimal patient care for SSRD and benefits the hospital system-wide.
Natalie Wilson is a certified child life specialist who holds a Master of Arts degree in childhood studies with completed research on improving psychosocial support for children with chronic illness. She has worked at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada for the past four years and is a member of the Somatization Strategy Task Force to streamline support for families. Natalie previously worked at the Young Carers Program of Hospice Toronto for five years where she created a community child life program, including group programming that has been replicated across the province. Natalie is passionate about empowering children from a child and family-centred care model.