A certified child life specialist influences the emotional response during polysomnography setup

Julie M. Baughn, Hannah G. Lechner, Daniel L. Herold, Virginia A. Brown, Kayla Eibner, Mikaela Sullivan, Dagney Willey Adamson, Jennifer Rodemeyer, Channing M. Sorensen, Eric Cleveland, Timothy I. Morgenthaler, Robin M. Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine if the presence of a certified child life specialist (CCLS) had a positive impact on patient emotion at the time of polysomnography setup and to determine the optimal timing of CCLS intervention prior to polysomnography (PSG) in our sleep center. Methods: We implemented a study which measured the impact of a CCLS on the emotional manifestation score (EMS) of pediatric patients (4 months–17 years, median 7 years) during PSG setup. CCLS intervention was either at the time of sleep medicine consultation (daytime) or during PSG setup (evening). We used Emotional Manifestations Scores (EMS) as well as patient/caregiver satisfaction data to measure the impact of a CCLS and inform decision-making regarding ongoing employment of a CCLS in our sleep lab. Results: High EMS scores were noted during PSG setup in all groups indicating the emotional distress of children undergoing PSG. The EMS improved more when CCLS was present at the time of PSG setup. Statistically significant improvements occurred in level of cooperation, pain/discomfort, and child coping. Based on the results of the study, we hired a CCLS to work in our sleep center at the time of PSG setup 2 evenings per week. Conclusions: PSG is emotionally stressful for pediatric patients as seen on EMS. A CCLS present in the evening at our sleep lab led to an improvement in EMS in children being prepared for PSG set-up. After implementation of a CCLS two nights per week in our sleep lab, parents/caregiver satisfaction scores were higher on nights a CCLS was present at setup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-229
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Child life
  • Patient experience
  • Pediatric
  • Sleep medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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