Child & Family Resilience Resources for Professionals

The KiDS of NYU Foundation Center for Child and Family Resilience, part of the Sala Institute for Child and Family Centered Care, brings expertise and resources to programs that provide coping, comfort, and wellbeing support for children and families facing childhood illness and adversity.

The Center for Child and Family Resilience unites individuals representing multiple disciplines, including social work and care management, psychology and psychiatry, child life and creative arts therapies, integrative medicine, pain management, supportive care, spiritual care, nutrition, rehabilitation services, and ethics to harness collective capabilities and dynamic synergies and foster a holistic, integrated model of care at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

Combining the strategies and tools of improvement science, prevention science, and co-design through working with children and families, the Center for Child and Family Resilience drives robust program development, learning, and innovation to understand and address the physical and emotional needs of children and families during times of complex or chronic illness.

Signature programs and improvement initiatives launched by the Center for Child and Family Resilience include the following:

  • Family Stress Thermometer, a tool that helps clinicians partner with families to assess stress during a child’s hospitalization
  • Comfort 5 Procedural Pain Management Bundle, a quality improvement initiative that supports the use of procedural comfort best practices during blood draws and starting intravenous lines
  • Integrated Behavioral Health Program, which addresses the physical and emotional needs of children and families facing complex or chronic conditions

Family Stress Thermometer

Growing evidence suggests that inpatient and intensive care hospitalizations can have significant psychological repercussions on children and families. Research shows that high parental distress during a child’s hospitalization can negatively impact engagement in care, communication, and family coping. Evidence for successful and sustainable inpatient models that systematically identify and address family stress remains scarce.

Using an integrated improvement science and family engagement framework, we have implemented a universal, standardized Family Stress Thermometer and response algorithm to reduce family stress and improve family coping and experience through the timely coordination of support interventions. The use of the co-designed Family Stress Thermometer, where families rate their stress on a scale from 0 to 10 and identify significant sources of stress, has now been seamlessly integrated into care within all of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital inpatient and intensive care units and translated into more than 10 languages.

The following materials describe our Family Stress Thermometer:

Comfort 5 Procedural Pain Management Bundle

Despite high pain prevalence in hospitalized children, research shows that pain is not consistently recognized or adequately treated across the pediatric continuum of care. Painful events can lead to increased distress and long-lasting fear months after the event. Painful experiences in early childhood can result in children being more sensitive to painful stimuli later in their hospital stay or even being at risk for chronic pain syndromes in adulthood. In the preoperative setting, a child may have had multiple painful procedures before arriving to the operating room and have immense anxiety, fear, and distress, leading to a greater pain response postoperatively.

It is critical to partner with patients, families, and clinicians in the co-design of tools and educational resources that enhance comfort and address pain throughout the course of a child’s illness and across a range of conditions and procedures. At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, we have built upon the work of Children’s Minnesota to create the Comfort 5 Procedural Pain Management bundle, which unites and encourages the use of procedural comfort best practices, such as partnership with families, positioning for comfort, age-appropriate distraction, numbing of the skin, and breastfeeding or sucrose during blood draws and the start of intravenous lines.

We provide the following resources regarding the Comfort 5 Procedural Pain Management Bundle:

Integrated Behavioral Health Program

One in 4 children, or 15 to 18 million in the United States, will face a chronic medical condition over the course of their lifetime. Youth coping with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and epilepsy, are two to three times more likely to suffer from mental health challenges and miss double the amount of school days when compared with their peers.

Rates of medical nonadherence hover around 50 percent and lead to significant increases in morbidity and mortality, particularly during adolescence. Despite frequent contact with healthcare providers, the unique emotional needs of youth with chronic medical illnesses are often left unidentified and untreated.

The Integrated Behavioral Health Program at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is housed within the Fink Children’s Ambulatory Care Center and powered by an interdisciplinary team of child psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and child life specialists working in partnership with pediatric providers, patients, and families to promote overall wellbeing and resilience in the face of complex, chronic illness. The Sala Institute played a critical role in this program’s inception, providing family experience and quality improvement expertise to the early stages of this work.

Led by the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, working in collaboration with the Department of Pediatrics, Department of Social Work, and Department of Creative Arts Therapy, Child Life, and Therapeutic Recreation, this program demonstrates the wide-reaching benefits of effective cross-departmental collaboration within the clinical, education, and research missions of NYU Langone.

We provide the following resource regarding the Integrated Behavioral Health Program:

Contact Us

For more information about the KiDS of NYU Foundation Center for Child and Family Resilience, please contact