Outline of Program
One of the most normal parts of all children's lives is school. Being hospitalized does not change that. The Pediatric team believes that addressing issues that are related to school re-entry is an integral part of the treatment plan for all patients and families. Many patients often feel apprehensive about being among their peers again after a long break from school. The purpose of the School Re-entry Program is to facilitate the transition from the hospital to school environment by providing emotional support to the child and family and to educate the school personnel and classmates. The School Re-entry Program is designed for each patient, family, and school's individual needs.
Who can have a School Re-entry presentation?
Any patient who attends school (or will be attending school) is a candidate for the School Re-entry Presentation. Any Pediatric team member, home school personnel, parent, or patient can request a presentation at the patient's school.
How does the School Re-Entry Presentation get scheduled?
A Child Life Specialist will coordinate with the identified patient's home school teacher, guidance counselor, or school administrator to schedule an appropriate time for the presentation either on diagnosis or once the patient has been given a Medical Release to return to school.
Who is involved in planning and implementing the School Re-Entry Presentation?
The Child Life Specialist is the main person responsible for the presentation. With input from the Pediatric team physicians and nurses as well as from the patient and family.
What is done to organize the School Re-Entry Program before doing the presentation?
The Child Life Specialist will complete an assessment form with each parent and patient as well as obtain an Ochsner Children's Medical Center Authorization for Release of Information prior to the presentation. This will provide specific information about what will be discussed in the presentation. The Child Life Specialist will also speak with the designated school representative to coordinate a time for the presentation for classmates as well as a separate meeting with teachers and staff who will be interacting with the patient once returning to school.
What is the format for each presentation?
Each presentation will be individualized to the patient. The family will dictate what information will be shared with the school. Typically the following information will be discussed with the patient's classmates:
- Disclosure of why child was hospitalized
- Treatment obtained for hospitalization including any side effects
- Body image/self-esteem issues
If there is a separate meeting with teachers, the following information will usually be discussed:
- A brief overview of common misconceptions children the patient's age have.
- Special considerations that need to be made for returning student (if applicable)
Is there a method for evaluation of the presentation?
One week following the presentation, the Child Life Specialist will send the school and parent an evaluation form with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to be returned to the Pediatric team. The Child Life Specialist will use this information to make improvements to future presentations.
What kind of follow-up support is provided to schools and families?
At the conclusion of the presentation, school personnel will be given a phone number for how to contact the Pediatric team if they have any further questions or problems. Two weeks following the presentation the Child Life Specialist will call the school and patient to see how things are going. Any issues or concerns will be directed to the appropriate Pediatric team members. The Child Life Specialist will also visit the patient on their next scheduled outpatient clinic appointment for further follow-up.
If you are interested in learning more about the School Re-entry Program, please call the Child Life Department at (504)842-2032.