Reading Hospital, the acute-care hospital of Tower Health in Reading, has hired a child-life specialist to support pediatric patients who may be experiencing anxiety during their stay in the emergency department.
Sandra Schreffler, a social worker and counselor, has taken on the new role, working primarily in Reading Hospital’s pediatric emergency room. She will also be working with young patients admitted to the hospital. She will also help the children of adult patients visiting the hospital.
Schreffler will provide therapeutic play, age-appropriate explanations of what children can expect during their hospital stay, and use other methods to make patients more comfortable with their care.
“I am honored to work as Reading Hospital’s first child-life specialist,” Schreffler said. “It is very gratifying, because I see firsthand that providing support and a calm environment improves young patients’ outcomes, reduces their length of stay and increases their satisfaction with their experience.”
Charles Barbera, vice president of pre-hospital and unscheduled care for Tower Health, said that even in a pediatric emergency department designed to be family friendly, emergency medical care is still stressful. Barbera hopes Schreffler can help alleviate that stress.
“The comfort patients receive can improve their cooperation during procedures and enhance their experience in this medical setting,” he said. “All of which can lead to better health outcomes and a better experience here.”