College of Psychology: Faculty Articles


Psychological Consultation in a Children's Hospital: An Evaluation of Services

Document Type


Publication Date



Pediatric Hospitals, Mental Health Services, Referral and Consultation, Child Psychology, Health Services Research

Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Psychology








The pediatric psychologist's role in children's inpatient medical hospitals has rapidly expanded. Few studies have examined the types of referrals for psychological consultation or program evaluation of these services. This paper describes an archival evaluation of the types of referrals received by a pediatric psychology inpatient service over a period of 4 1/2 years and an evaluation of these services by physicians, nurses, and social workers. The survey of services indicated that the most frequent referrals were for depression/suicide attempt, poor adjustment to a chronic illness, and behavior problems. Medically related problems accounted for 42% of all of the consults. Approximately two-thirds of the children were referred for outpatient psychological services. The pediatric psychology service was more likely to follow, on an outpatient basis, children with medically related problems. A 26-item questionnaire obtained an overall response rate of 48% and response rate of 84 and 60% for faculty and resident physicians having contact with the pediatric psychology consult service. The evaluation of the pediatric psychology service by physicians, nurses, and social workers indicated overall satisfaction with the services they received. The level of satisfaction was strongly related to the level of diagnostic agreement between the physicians/nurses and psychologist. The lowest level of satisfaction was on verbal and written feedback. Suggestion for further research was offered.