Objective: To review the past 10 years of research relevant to psychiatry on injuries in children and adolescents.
Method: A literature search of databases for "wounds and injuries, excluding head injuries," was done with Medline and PsycINFO, yielding 589 and 299 citations, respectively. Further searching identified additional studies.
Results: Progress is occurring in prevention, pain management, acute care, psychiatric treatment, and outcomes. The emotional and behavioral effects of injuries contribute to morbidity and mortality. Psychiatric assessment, crisis intervention, psychotherapy, psychopharmacological treatment, and interventions for families are now priorities. Research offers new interventions for pain, delirium, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, prior maltreatment, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, and end-of-life care. High-risk subgroups are infants, adolescents, maltreated children, suicide attempters, and substance abusers. Staff training improves quality of care and reduces staff stress.
Conclusions: Despite the high priority that injuries receive in pediatric research and treatment, psychiatric aspects are neglected. There is a need for assessment and for planning of psychotherapeutic, psychopharmacological, and multimodal treatments, based on severity of injury, comorbid psychopathology, bodily location(s), and prognosis. Psychiatric collaboration with emergency, trauma, and rehabilitation teams enhances medical care. Research should focus on alleviating pain, early psychiatric case identification, and treatment of children, adolescents, and their families, to prevent further injuries and reduce disability.