Paediatric Liaison SIG

Focus

Promote joined-up interdisciplinary clinical experience and research in order to strengthen partner-approaches and facilitate the resilience and emotional wellbeing of children and families in paediatric settings.

Paediatric Liaison at ACAMH

ACAMH’s longstanding commitment to multidisciplinary work is the ideal home for a Special Interest Group (SIG) for colleagues working in paediatric settings.

Established in 2009, the SIG has already hosted successful conferences, most notably in 2010 featuring keynote US presenter Professor John Campo, followed in 2011 with an ambitious two day event which combined the expertise, specialist knowledge and complementary foci of two Associations – one national and one European – to host a two-day programme of keynotes, symposia, lectures and workshops, covering the very latest in interpretations, interventions, manifestations and developments and offering the dynamic of leading academics and aspiring researchers. The panel of distinguished and internationally renowned speakers reflected local, national and global contexts, perspectives and insights and sharing thoughts, emerging research, and conceptual understanding brought together leading experts and paediatric professionals to learn, share and network.

A practically-orientated, clinically relevant, and interactively dynamic meeting is now being planned for October 2013. Paediatric members of ACAMH and related organisations are being invited to join the SIG and benefit from its events, forum approach and focused opportunities to engage with colleagues on a wider platform.

“Historically there have been differences of emphasis amongst us, including naming what we do, but there is clearly a common core of relationships both with patients, their families and with paediatric staff – doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, teachers, speech and language therapists, play specialists – and with children’s social workers which is sufficient to bring us together” Dr Sebastian Kraemer, SIG Chair.

If you wish to know more about this expanding group please contact Martin Pratt at ACAMH: martin.pratt@acamh.org

Background

Besides being ill, children who use paediatric services are, with their families, subject to many challenges, anxieties and needs. It is stressful to have an acute illness, to be injured or to have a surgical intervention. Children with chronic or terminal conditions face the tasks of adaptation and the prospect of pain and loss, yet with psychological help many children with chronic diseases will show significant improvement in both mental and physical health. And children who present with physical symptoms not explained by medical diagnoses need skilled psychological and mental health help in understanding and managing them. In general paediatric patients suffer twice the average rates of mental disorder. Paediatrics is also the destination of many children and young people in crisis, such as those who have harmed themselves, or are acutely mentally ill. The presence of skilled psychological, psychotherapeutic and mental health practitioners enhances the quality of care given to all children and their families. Liaison with children’s social workers is often also required. Over time there is mutual learning and enrichment of skills and knowledge between paediatric and mental health colleagues.

The establishment of this Special Interest Group of professionals engaged in this area builds on the successful conferences hosted in the past five years. It acknowledges in particular the valuable enhancing role of skilled psychological, psychotherapeutic and mental health practitioners in optimising the quality of care given to all children and their families and the importance of liaison in terms of mutual learning and enrichment of skills and knowledge between paediatric and mental health colleagues.

Principal Aims

  • multidisciplinary education and research which promotes the resilience and emotional wellbeing of children and families in paediatric settings, both through direct work with children and families and by supporting the clinical and practical aspects to meet these ends
  • close collaboration across all levels and disciplines
  • partnership with other organisations working in this area, for example the Association of Paediatric Mental Health UK of the Royal College of Paediatris and Child Health, the Paediatric Psychology Network of the British Psychological Society, and the Paediatric Liaison Network of the Royal College of Pyshicatrists

Activities

Key events have included:

  • a co-hosted day conference with the RCPsych Liaison Interest Group in 2010 on children talking with their bodies, which gathered together the many different disciplines working within child and adolescent mental health in a bold move to foster partnership, encourage joined-up thinking and strengthen liaison. The day was designed to encourage professionals to consider the many manifestations of this group of conditions and their place within the broader services, with particular reference to how disciplines can work together to provide the most comprehensive and optimal approach to transitions, management, treatments and interventions
  • a co-hosted two-day conference with the European Association for Consultation Liaison Psychiatry (EACLPP) Network on the meanings of illness. This unique event, drew together the expertise, specialist knowledge and complementary foci of two Associations – one national and one European – in a programme of keynotes, symposia, lectures and workshops, covering the very latest in interpretations, interventions, manifestations and developments and offering the dynamic of leading academics and aspiring researchers
  • planned publication of an Occasional Paper on this theme to facilitate greater exposure, share the wealth of information and expertise of presenters and specialists, and highlight this valuable area of work