THE HOSPITALIZATION of children represents a tangible and significant phase of present day practice of pediatrics. It therefore reflects with considerable sensitivity the changes which have been and are taking place in the medical care of children. For example, the prevailing emphasis on Preventive pediatrics and the lessening severity and frequency of infectious diseases which has been accelerated by the general use of antibiotics have both been major factors in bringing about a diminution in demand for numbers of pediatric in-patient beds. On the other hand, the more general use of intricate and expensive diagnostic and therapeutic methods and devices such as contrast medium roentgenology, electrocardiography and encephalography, elaborate chemical and other laboratory observations has led to an increasing use of hospitals on an in-patient or out-patient basis in order to make such facilities available to the child patient.
Furthermore, hospitalization reflects an other characteristic of pediatric practice–that it is a general medical discipline confined to an age span rather than a special discipline confined to an organ system. Therefore a hospital facility for children must accommodate a variety of illnesses as well as a variety of age groups, each with its own peculiar characteristics and needs.
In designing a guide to the pediatric aspects of hospital care, the Committee was immediately faced with the choice of producing either a detailed vade mecum embracing each of the manifold problems or of attempting to distill out, insofar as possible, what appear to be the basic principles underlying hospital care for children during this era of rapid development and change in the nature of pediatric care.
- Copyright © 1954 by the American Academy of Pediatrics