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How pediatrics could help adult medicine improve quality of care for patients

There's a thought-provoking perspective today on the Well blog about how adopting certain pediatric practices could improve the quality of care for adult patients. In the piece, Perri Klass, MD, examines the different approaches to treating adults and children and concludes that when it comes to feeling scared, vulnerable or anxious about medical procedures age doesn't matter.

Grown-ups aren't necessarily physically stronger or more emotionally tougher than their pint-size counterparts when it comes to being sick or hurt, argues Klass, and translating pediatric practices for adult medicine could make painful experiences more comfortable for patients. She writes:

The adage "children are not just small adults" is so basic in pediatrics that you can search medical journals and find it applied to treatments for facial fractures, liver failure and cardiac arrhythmias, for example. We have learned over time to fine-tune medical care to the differently wired physiologies of children, and to their emotional development.

But when it comes to certain aspects of medical treatment, especially hospitalization, perhaps it's time to acknowledge that adults are really just big children. Illness, pain and the shadows of disability and death -- all hospital familiars -- make all of us vulnerable, at any age, and reassurance and comfort are welcome.

Photo by Hubert K

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