Children that suffer injuries often face a long road to full physical and emotional recovery. Unfortunately, there are very few resources available to support children through this recovery, as a recently published report from the Childress Summit of the Pediatric Trauma Society details.¹ To address this need, we recently collaborated with Dr. Jason Van Allen from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and Dr. Sarah Ostrowski from Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio to begin to evaluate the Cellie Coping Kit for Injury, a new coping tool that is designed for children ages 6 to 12 years.
This new research-based kit is part of a line of tools featuring Cellie, a stuffed toy, coping cards, and a book for caregivers. Working with a team of researchers and psychologists in the CHOP Cancer Center, we developed the Cellie Coping Kit for Cancer a few years ago, which has been shown to be helpful for children with cancer and their parents teaching children how to cope emotionally with the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.² We have also adapted the kit to help children with sickle cell disease and are pleased with the initial evaluation of the kit’s acceptability and feasibility³ and plan to study the kit’s ability to change behavior and to improve health outcomes. We found that adapting the Cellie Kit for Injury was easily mastered, given the research available in promoting physical and emotional recovery from pediatric injury.
The Cellie Coping Kit for Injury bears many similarities to its predecessors, including Cellie, but the remaining materials found in each kit have been designed to specifically address injury:
- The coping cards address various stressors often associated with recovering from injury, such as navigating appointments and procedures, rehabilitation challenges, and even stressors that may arise in school or with friends. For example, a card addressing the emotional reactions to injury may read, “I keep thinking about being injured.”
- The back of the coping cards include tips, such as “tell Cellie about your thoughts”, “draw a picture about the way you feel about being injured”, or “stay as busy as you can with things you liked to do before you got injured.”
- The cards are paralleled in the Caregiver’s Book, which is designed for the parent to easily understand the effect of injury on a child and how to support emotional recovery.
- The Kit includes material specific to traumatic brain injury and burns, as these conditions may require more unique coping strategies.
The Kit can be used by the child:
- On his or her own
- With parents or other trusted adults
- With his or her medical team
- With a child life specialist or therapist
With 20 million unintentional pediatric injuries occurring annually in the US and one in six children developing persistent posttraumatic stress following their injury, ⁴ it is our hope that the kit will serve as an effective resource in ensuring that children attain full physical and emotional recovery following injury. Additionally, we hope that the kit encourages health care providers to incorporate trauma-informed care, and in particular to consider the effects of traumatic stress on medical treatment for injury.
For more information on The Cellie Coping Kit, please visit www.celliecopingkit.org.
¹Report Society from the Childress Summit of the Pediatric Trauma Society, April 22-24, 2013. Childress Summit of the Pediatric Trauma Society Work Groups. Journal of Trauma Acute Care Surgery (2014): Sept. 77(3).
²Marsac ML, Hildenbrand A, Clawson K., Jackson L, Kohser K., Barakat L, Kassam-Adams N., Aplenc R., Vinsel A, Alderfer MA. Preliminary data on acceptability and feasibility of the Cellie Cancer Coping Kit. Supportive Care in Cancer, 2012 Dec; 20(12):3315-24.
³Marsac ML, KlingbeilOG, Hildenbrand AK., Alderfer MA, Kassam-Adams N. The Cellie Coping Kit for sickle cell disease: Initial acceptability and feasibility. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, Vol 2(4), Dec 2014, 389-399.
⁴Kassam-Adams N, Marsac ML, Hildenbrand A, and Winston FK. Posttraumatic Stress Following Pediatric Injury Updated on Diagnosis, Risk Factors, and Intervention. JAMA Pediatrics (2013): 9
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