What Is A Pediatric Assessment

pediatric assessment involves a variety of tools, observation, and tests in order to properly assess the severity of a condition. These are completed to test the severity of a disease, medical condition, physical ailments, or cognitive disorders. It is an extremely important part of pediatric health.

The anatomy of children is quite different throughout their growth stages. A pediatric assessment can determine if a child is developing properly, or if there are any delays (both physically and mentally). Also, children have higher dietary needs due to their growing bodies, as well as increased oxygen and energy demands.

A basic head to assessment consists of checking:

Respiratory System

The respiratory system is also known as the ventilatory system. It consists of the intake areas (nose and mouth), trachea, and lungs. Many newborns, or premature babies, suffer from inefficient lung development. A pediatric assessment can assess the growth, efficiency, or delays of the respiratory system to ensure that the oxygen needs of the child are being fully met.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is another name for the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body and returning deoxygenated blood back to the heart so it can be sent back to the lungs to be re-oxygenated. During a pediatric assessment, vitals such as heart rate, strength, or any irregularities are measured, as well as a variety of other assessments.

Neurological System

Better know as the nervous system, the neurological system includes brain function, central nervous system, and the autonomic system. Response times and reflexes are all a part of the nervous systems. A pediatric assessment will look for delays or abnormal movements.

Gastrointestinal System

The gastrointestinal system is key to absorbing and retaining nutrients. A full pediatric assessment of the GI system can check for any abnormalities in the esophagus, esophageal sphincter, pyloric sphincter, and absorption issues within the small and large intestine.
Within each of these systems are subcategories including breathing effort, respiration rate, heart rate, pulse, reaction signs & responses, and appetite. In addition to a physical assessment, a history of the child is obtained.

Home care nurses use observational assessments that are divided into various age appropriate assessment techniques. There are a variety of pediatric tools, charts, and outlines in order for the RN to obtain a complete and comprehensive assessment of the child. Age is a control factor on which physical and mental delays are assessed.

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