Phase I

The project “Hospital – a friend to children and families” implements the child -and family-centered care approach in Serbian Children hospitals.

    • The concepts of child -and family-centered care was for the first time introduced in Serbia in 2009 by the Suisse NGO Partnerships in Health ( FPH) and the Child Life Department of the Johns Hopkins Child Life Department ( JHH) together with the Serbian NGO Partnerstvo za zdravlje
    • The Ministry of Health of Serbia reviewed and approved “A Child- Centered Health Care Trainer Manual” (Schwethelm, Capello, Brylske, & Munn, 2010), the project and the approach
    • To assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current approaches used in hospitals in Serbia, FPH and JHH collected baseline information for the Ministry of Health. 22 hospitals of about 30 participated in the assessment.



  • Many hospitals provide some sleeping facilities for a parent during a child’s hospitalization
  • Parents are often already informed and supported in the provision of routine care to the child at bed-side
  • Many hospitals have playrooms equipped with toys and play materials for the younger patients
  • Many hospitals regularly collect some information about patient and family satisfaction related to family and patient interactions with care providersAreas of improvement indicated by the hospitals:
  • Only 2 (of 22) hospitals have written guidelines or tools to help healthcare workers assess pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Only 2 hospitals have someone who is trained in the use of tools to assess levels of pain in children of different ages
  • Only one hospital has staff trained in cognitive and behavioral strategies for pain control in children
  • Just three hospitals provide children knowledge and skills to help them manage pain and discomfort
  • None of the hospitals indicated that they had special facilities and activities for adolescents
  • Only 4 hospitals have someone who is trained in the use of play techniques to prepare children for medical procedures
  • Five hospitals have some information materials for parents on preparing the child prior to a planned hospitalization


Subsequently, six children hospitals/wards in Serbia were selected with the Ministry of Health:
1) Institute for mother and child health care, Belgrade
2) University Children Hospital Belgrade
3) Pediatric department of the Clinic Centre Zvezdara, Belgrade
4) Children Clinic for internal diseases Nis
5) Pediatric Clinic Kragujevac, and Pediatric Department Subotica.
6) Pediatric Hospital KBC Zvezdara “Dr. Olga Popovic-Dedijer”, Belgrade, Serbia

Teams from these institutions (three staff per institution: pediatrician, pediatric nurse, and psychologist) participated in a regional Training for trainers course during the first week of May, 2010, together with two teams from Macedonia. The course was implemented by Patrice Brylske, Director of Child Life, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Erin Munn, Training Coordinator, and Dr. Bettina Schwethelm, Executive Director, Partnerships in Health. In this approximately 45 hours course, the participants learned about the previously described aspects of child- and family-centered care and received the trainer curriculum, training powerpoints, video materials and various handouts for conducting future trainings.