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    Sesame Street for Military Families’ new Transitions in Health Care topic helps military kids, parents with PCS

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, UNITED STATES

    10.27.2020

    Courtesy Story

    Defense Health Agency Connected Health

    For military families with young children and the Military Health System providers who treat them, coordinating health care while facing the many challenges related to frequent relocation can be stressful. That’s why the Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch has collaborated with our longtime partner, Sesame Workshop, on Transitions in Health Care (https://sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org/topic/transitions-in-healthcare), a new online resource that recently launched on the Sesame Street for Military Families website.

    Transitions in Health Care provides free digital health education resources to help children ages 2 to 5, their parents, and their providers more easily navigate care-related challenges brought to them by the letters P,C, and S – short for a permanent change of station or moving to a new duty location.

    Keeping track of health care providers, treatment, and information across multiple military treatment facilities and private-sector care networks is hard enough for adults. Going to a new doctor in a strange place – over and over – can be downright scary for small children. All these challenges are magnified for young families trying to keep up with regular vaccinations and checkups and families with kids with conditions that are complex or chronic or both such as asthma or Down Syndrome. As providers, we encounter the flip sides of these situations and share the families’ frustration with them.

    DHA Connected Health and Sesame Workshop designed Sesame Street for Military Families’ Transitions in Health Care specifically to address these challenges related to PCS and coordination of pediatric health care, which the Defense Health Board discussed in a December 2017 report (https://go.usa.gov/xGwdN). The report specifically recommends the use of telehealth and mobile health applications to improve coordination and provision of primary, urgent, behavioral, and specialty health care through both direct and private-sector care networks.

    First of Its Kind

    Transitions in Health Care is one of the first digital health technology resources to focus on the preschool PCS population. More importantly, it is the first of its kind dedicated to helping parents confidently prepare both emotionally and logistically to make PCS-related health care transitions easier for their children – and by extension, themselves and providers.

    Research shows that increasing parent confidence increases both their and their children’s overall well-being. By helping normalize doctor’s visits by making them less stressful and less anxiety-producing, Transitions in Health Care aims to improve service members’ peace of mind regarding their children’s well-being – increasing mission effectiveness and overall readiness.

    For Families

    Transitions in Health Care provides free, easy-to-use online tools for kids and their parents:

    • Kids can interactively explore a typical doctor’s office environment in a custom online game, watch videos, and print out themed coloring pages and activity sheets. These help guide children throughout the doctor’s visit, so they know what to expect and how to handle it.

    • Parents can review information about medical care and terms and learn how to explain medical situations in age-appropriate ways that reassure their children. They can also co-view the kids-oriented content with their children, which gives kids the benefit of learning about the doctor visit and feeling comfortable asking questions, and parents can practice talking with their kids and answering questions.

    All Transitions in Health Care resources are available in English and Spanish. The site also provides access to Sesame Street for Military Families’ full library of mobile apps, printable activity pages, and online games designed to help military kids and parents communicate thoughts and feelings about other aspects of military life such as deployments, homecomings, and transitioning from military to civilian life.

    For Providers

    While military kids and parents are Transitions in Health Care’s main audiences, the site is intended to help military providers as well, particularly in better understanding the emotional side of the care they provide. Improving providers’ understanding and compassion will improve their ability to serve military families.

    Providers interested in applying Transitions in Health Care content to their practice can watch a pre-recorded webinar. Providers can also refer parents and children to the website prior to visits and display the videos and printed materials in waiting rooms.

    Increasing awareness about Transitions in Health Care and its goals can also help providers not just within the MHS, but also the increasing number of network providers that treat military families. Many providers in private-sector care networks, especially those not near MTFs, are unfamiliar with military family experiences. Helping these providers better understand the unique culture and context in which our patients live will improve their relationships with military families and the quality of care they provide.

    Transitions in Health Care, the culmination of more than 15 months of collaboration, is just the latest example of the likeminded partnership dating back to 2013 between DHA Connected Health and Sesame Workshop through Sesame Street for Military Families. Our two organizations collected first-hand information from military parents and providers about the challenges and barriers military preschoolers face when transitioning health care. A Department of Defense advisory panel used this information as the basis for tailored content designed to improve the transition experience for military families.

    Encouraging military parents, children, and provider colleagues to use this suite of doubly validated digital health tools is yet another way we military clinicians can ensure readiness by helping military families get the best possible health care.

    Kelly Blasko, Ph.D., is a counseling psychologist and leads mobile health clinical integration at the Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health branch.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.27.2020
    Date Posted: 10.28.2020 12:13
    Story ID: 381908
    Location: JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US 

    Web Views: 82
    Downloads: 0

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