“Thrown out of a Moving Train”: Caregiver Experiences of Transition from Intensive to Acute Care

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Intensive care to acute care is a high-risk component of patient and family psychosocial wellbeing during hospitalization. However, little is yet known about the experience at this time. Therefore, this study explored parent/caregiver perceptions of of their child's transition from pediatric intensive care to acute care. The findings of this mixed-methods research demonstrate immediate implications for child life assessment and intervention practices across the inpatient healthcare enterprise.


Review current research on psychosocial and developmental outcomes associated with both intensive care admissions and unit-to-unit transfers for children and families.

Examine the results of a research study on the perspectives of caregivers on the patient transition from an intensive care unit to an acute care floor.

Identify applications of study findings specifically to Certified Child Life Specialists as well as other members of multidisciplinary care teams.

1 PDU, Assessment Domain

Jessika Boles


Vanderbilt University

Jessika Boles, PhD, CCLS is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, and a Certified Child Life Specialist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies from Rhodes College, a Master's degree in Applied Child Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology with a graduate certificate in Qualitative Research from the University of Memphis. She has been a practicing child life specialist for fourteen years, the first 8 of which were spent in pediatric and adolescent oncology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with the following years dedicated to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dr. Boles is known for her research on the concept of legacy as it is perceived by various stakeholders and translated into clinical practices with children and families. Additionally, as the leader of the CHILL (Children's Healthcare, Illness, Legacy, and Loss) lab at Vanderbilt University, her research brings together multidisciplinary collaborators and student researchers to study the psychosocial needs and experiences of children and families in multiple contexts: pediatric critical care, medical complexity, developmental disabilities, adverse childhood experiences, and grief and bereavement. She has held multiple posts in the Association of Child Life Professionals, and currently serves as Lead Fellow for the Association of Child Life Professionals and as a voting member of the Institutional Review Board at Vanderbilt University and Medical Center. In her spare time, she enjoys punk rock, her family's home and menagerie of pets in Montana, and spending time with her children and husband.

Emily Boulos

Certified Child Life Specialist

Vanderbilt University

Emily Boulos, MEd, CCLS completed a Master's in Child Studies at Vanderbilt University and is currently a Child Life Fellow at Golisano Children's Hospital Southwest Florida. She  co-designed a study to examine caregiver perceptions of ICU-to-acute-care patient transitions and is involved in several research projects addressing legacy and sibling bereavement. Emily is involved in several nonprofit organizations such as Make-A-Wish Foundation Southern Florida. 

Cara Guthrie



“Thrown out of a Moving Train”: Caregiver Experiences of Transition from Intensive to Acute Care
06/08/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 06/08/2022
06/08/2022 at 11:00 AM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 06/08/2022
5 Questions
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
1.00 PDU credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 PDU credit  |  Certificate available