The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new policy statement on how health care providers can meet the needs of hospitalized adolescents.
In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discussed how to meet the needs of hospitalized adolescents.
The statement “The Hospitalized Adolescent,” was published online January 23, 2023, and in the February 2023 issue of Pediatrics. The unique ways in which teenagers are impacted by hospitalization from acute and chronic illnesses are discussed in the statement.
According to the AAP, about 20% of pediatric hospital admissions in the United States are for adolescents aged 11 to 20 years, during developmental years where they gain skills and independence and need privacy and confidentiality.
“Teenagers are typically exploring what it means to be independent and so being hospitalized can feel like a real set-back,” said Cora C. Breuner, MD, MPH, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement.“ There are ways we can help support them, through hospital policies, services and care, and by ensuring that we respect the privacy, confidentiality concerns, and dignity of young patients.”
The best setting for hospitalized adolescents, as outlined by the AAP, is one that meets their legal, medical, psychosocial, equity, gender, privacy, confidentiality, and educational needs. This setting should also ensure safety and minimize disruptions to adolescents’ lives and developmental tasks.
Recommendations from the AAP include teaching adolescent health and wellness in hospitalist training and having support in the development of policies for inpatient adolescents from hospital administrations, clinicians, and adolescent medicine specialists. The AAP also recommends communication between hospitals and primary care providers.
Care should be centered around confidentiality, according to the AAP. There should also be flexible visitation schedules for friends and family, and physicians and other healthcare providers should be given anti-racist and anti-microaggression training. Accommodations should also be made for adolescent activities.
To constantly improve adolescent care settings, researchers should discover new and ongoing trends in adolescent hospitalization through the collection of demographic data.
“We like to see teens involved in making decisions that affect their health in partnership with family members and the medical team,” Breuner said. “During challenging circumstances, adolescents deserve our compassion, respect, and support.”
American Academy of Pediatrics issues new recommendations on hospitalized adolescents. American Academy of Pediatrics. January 23, 2023. Accessed January 23, 2023. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-issues-new-recommendations-on-hospitalized-adolescents/