In 1996, soon after the establishment of the Jo Ann University Hospital, Georgia's first evidence-based Psycho-Social Program was created, the aim of the Program was and still is to help children and their families to cope with stress related to hospital environment, health problems and therapy.

Visiting a doctor and being hospitalized is a difficult challenge for both the child and his/her family. Psycho-social Service reduces hospital-related stressors and helps children, adolescents, and their families to cope with the medical problem via communication, that is appropriate to a patient’s level of development; playing opportunities are used, and familiar and safe for the child environment is created.

To prepare a child/adolescent for expected medical procedures the Service provides:

  • Educational games to get a patient equanted to medical procedures and equipment;
  • Information relevant to a child’s/adolescent’s level of development;
  • Emotional support;
  • Learning and practicing stress coping skills;
  • Children's books/coloring books to prepare them for specific procedures.

To support a child/adolescent during medical procedures we provide:

  • Developmentally appropriate distracting activities;
  • Provision of information in parallel with events/procedures;
  • Emotional support;
  • Comfortable posing;
  • Reduction of stressors;
  • Parental support and positive guidance

Post-procedural therapeutic support:

  • Ability to express emotions;
  • Support in understanding the experience;
  • Developmentally appropriate therapeutic activities;
  • Activities for unwinding and relaxation;
  • Family advocacy and emotional support:
  • Identification of family needs and appropriate response;
  • Provision of comprehensive information or assistance in finding it;
  • Emotional support;
  • Helping parents to talk with their child/adolescent about difficult topics;
  • Helping in communication with medical staff;
  • Helping in adapting to the hospital environment;
  • Parent orientation in specific aspects of child care;
  • Facilitating attendance at procedures;
  • Supporting and empowering siblings.

Development screening (if necessary):

  • Assessment of development of children aged 0 to 6 years (according to ASQ-3);
  • If necessary, referral to an appropriate specialist;

Parents counseling regarding their child’s development issues.