EPN 2022

Izel Caliskan

Izel Caliskan, Speaker at Pediatrics Conferences
Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals, United Kingdom
Title : Being on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit - The Role of Psychology in Critical Care


The Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is, for many a place where there are significant levels of physical and emotional distress. Over the last decade, there has been greater awareness of the experiences and needs of children, parents, and staff in PICU. The British Paediatric Association (1993) recommends that the special psychosocial needs of children and families on PICU are addressed. This presentation will explore common child and parental experiences of a PICU admission. It will then discuss the role of the paediatric psychologist in addressing the psychosocial needs of families through case studies and examples.

Providing direct support and facilitating coping during admission and post-discharge is one of the main roles of the paediatric psychologist. This includes providing sessions to help individuals make sense of their experiences and emotions both during admission and in the immediate future of the child’s discharge or end-of-life care. It also includes offering more formal trauma-focused interventions in the event of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Psychologists can also provide family support like helping and working with siblings and other family members in making sense of what has happened to the patient. The second important aspect of the role of the paediatric psychologist involves supporting staff and conducting liaison work with other professionals. Research shows high levels of burnout in staff working in PICU and psychologists embedded in multidisciplinary teams can support with relieving some of the emotional burden of their work. Furthermore, engaging in liaison work with other professionals through education and providing consultancy has the potential to both empower staff and indirectly support children and families.

What will audience learn from your presentation?

  • Develop an understanding of the psychological stresses and strains for child patients, families, and staff.
  • Develop an understanding of existing research into the lived experiences of children, families, and staff in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, as well as future directions for research.
  • Gain insight into the role of psychologists and psychology in critical care and explore existing interventions/models of support
  • Gaining ideas in relation to types of support hospitals and pediatric intensive care units can provide to improve care and well-being of service users.


Dr. Caliskan studied Psychology and Education at McGill University, Canada and graduated in 2015. She then completed an MSc. Degree in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice at the Anna Freud Centre, University College London (UCL). Following this, she specialized in working with children and worked as a child and adolescent psychologist in private practice in Turkey. She received a doctoral degree/PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCL in 2020, specializing in qualitative research within the field of Paediatric psycho-oncology. Dr. Caliskan is currently a Visiting Lecturer at UCL and works as a Pediatric Psychologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital, specializing in cardiology and respiratory diseases with a special interest in Paediatric Intensive Care Unit work. Dr. Caliskan is also a Clinical Advisor within digital mental health.