Psychologists at John Hunter Children's Hospital provide a range of assessment, diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and consultation services for children, young people and their families.
The Paediatric Clinical Psychology Service aims to improve the psychological and mental health wellbeing of inpatients referred to the service and their families /carers and facilitate admission and/or discharge from John Hunter Children’s Hospital.
It is recognised that children and young people in hospital may be experiencing:
- Psychological and behavioural problems associated with a medical illness or disorder
- Physical or medical-like symptoms where psychological and/or relational issues may be contributing to the presentation
- Significant psychosocial issues in relation to physical illness or disability, including difficulties in adjustment or non-acceptance of major disability; treatment adherence; and/or parenting difficulties in the face of illness.
The Paediatric Clinical Psychology Service provides psychological assessment, therapeutic intervention and consultation for children and young people admitted to John Hunter Children’s Hospital and their families.
JHCH neuropsychologists provide a multidisciplinary assessment/diagnostic service for children with specific learning difficulties. This covers neuropsychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy and medical problems. Assessments aim to identify specific reasons for delays in learning and recommend appropriate intervention programs and strategies.
- Neuropsychological assessment for children and adolescents.
Assessments cover memory, attention, executive function, verbal and non-verbal abilities, behaviour and emotional adjustment where there is an acquired brain injury or effects on cognitive function, behaviour or schoolwork due to medical conditions or their treatment. Assessments are designed to assist in understanding the child’s strengths and weaknesses and in managing and rehabilitatin areas of weakness.
Clinical Psychology assessment and intervention is provided for oncology and haematology patients at John Hunter Children’s Hospital for children and adolescents. The psychology clinic operates one day a week and accepts referrals from the Paediatric Oncology Consultants and Paediatric Oncology Social Worker. The clinic accepts referrals for both inpatients and outpatients and also provides a service to the patient’s siblings and parents if required.
The Clinical Psychologist provides a service to children and adolescents who are undergoing active treatment for cancer, as well as those who are post-treatment or accessing the late effects clinic. The main clinical areas that present include anxiety, depression, childhood behavioural problems, trauma, grief and bereavement.
This clinic works in consultation with the Hunter and Northern NSW Youth Cancer Service (15-25years) that operates out of the Calvary Mater Hospital but due to the often overlapping nature of the two clinics, all referrals are initially discussed between the Consultants and Clinical Psychologists from both teams.
Children’s Complex Pain
A clinical psychologist provides assessment and intervention for outpatients referred to the Children’s Complex Pain Service at JHCH as part of a multidisciplinary team.
The clinical psychologist’s role is to educate children and their carers in strategies for managing complex pain that are alternate or in addition to medication. These include:
- CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)
- Relaxation Techniques
- Pacing of activities
The psychologist also educates the family as to the working of the nervous system with respect to pain and the effects of stress to assist them to understand why the strategies are helpful. Sometimes anxiety management is part of the process. Behavioural management is also useful at times. Pacing may include return to school planning and reorganizing sleep patterns is sometimes a necessary part of management.