Videoconferencing to Reduce Stress Among Hospitalized Children
OBJECTIVES: Family-Link is a videoconferencing program that allows hospitalized children and their parents to virtually visit family members and friends using laptops, webcams, and a secure Wi-Fi connection. We evaluated the association of Family-Link use on the reduction in stress experienced by children during hospitalization.
METHODS: We offered Family-Link to pediatric patients who had an expected length of hospitalization equal to or greater than 4 days. We measured the stress levels of hospitalized children at admission and discharge using the previously published Parental Stress Survey. We used propensity score matching and multivariable linear regression methods to evaluate the relationship between the use of Family-Link and stress experienced by children during hospitalization.
RESULTS: We included a total of 367 children in the study: 232 Family-Link users and 135 non–Family-Link users. Using the propensity score matching method, we found that the use of Family-Link was significantly associated with a greater reduction in overall mean stress compared with non–Family-Link users among the cohort of patients who lived closer to the hospital and had shorter lengths of hospitalization (β = 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.03 to 0.43; P < .05). In this cohort, the reduction in overall mean stress was 37% greater among Family-Link users than non–Family-Link users.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of videoconferencing by some hospitalized children and families to conduct virtual visits with family and friends outside of the hospital was associated with a greater reduction in stress during hospitalization than those who did not use videoconferencing.
- hospitalized children
- propensity score matching
- health services research
- Accepted April 1, 2014.
- Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics