Evaluation of standardized psychological screening for pediatric inpatients.


Objective: This study aimed to examine the efficacy of a psychological screening tool for hospitalized pediatric patients to identify those at high risk for adjustment difficulties and optimize referrals to pediatric behavioral health (BH) providers. Specifically, this study evaluated the PROMIS® Parent Proxy 25 to capture the psychosocial needs of the inpatient pediatric population admitted to the general medicine floor in a free standing children’s hospital. Methods: The PROMIS® Parent Proxy 25 was administered to parents of children ages 5 to 17 (N = 128). Chart review was used to group children into those who did or did not receive BH consultation during their admission. Results: Results indicate that the PROMIS® Parent Proxy Anxiety and Depression scales consistently differentiated between children’s consultation status while also indicating a notable level of unmet need in children who did not receive BH consultation. Examination of patterns of scale elevations also provides further information to guide consultations to BH services. Conclusions: Results suggest that the PROMIS® Parent Proxy 25 may be a useful screening tool to determine pediatric patients who need BH referrals. Parental responses to the screener may also be used by CL services to identify patients with BH needs, which would enhance medical provider assessment of patient needs and factors impacting patient functioning.

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Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology

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Psychological screening of pediatric inpatients What is it about? Children admitted to the hospital are at risk for psychological difficulties, but we lack effective screening strategies to know who needs behavioral health support. Our team looked at whether or not using an existing screening measure (PROMIS Parent Proxy 25) would identify those in need of behavioral health consultation services.

Why is it important? Effective psychological screening aids the accurate and efficient linking of patients in need with appropriate mental health services. Our findings showed that the PROMIS Parent Proxy 25 Anxiety and Depression scales differentiated between children who were already receiving behavioral health consultation while also identifying some children who had unmet needs. Thus this screening tool may be effective in hospital settings to determine children in need of consultation-liaision (CL) psychology or psychiatry referrals.