CNSW Pediatric Toolkit

Current Modules:

Future Modules

  • Growth and Development
  • Adherence
  • Advance Directives
  • Care Plans
  • Programs and Resources
  • Role of the Social Worker

Pediatric Nephrology Social Work is a specialty area within the field of Nephrology. Children who are diagnosed with renal failure face a lifelong challenge. The parents and families of these children are intimately involved in daily care and planning for these children. For parents, this can be an overwhelming task. The pediatric nephrology social worker has a significant role in providing services for the child and the family

The bio-psychosocial-emotional assessment is the foundation for care planning for these patients and families. Environmental and financial issues are often complicated and require careful ongoing monitoring. Issues of dual family structures, custody and, on occasion, the need for state child protective services are complicated by medication and dialysis schedules. Family communications are essential to successful medical management of the pediatric patient. Family counseling is an important responsibility of the pediatric nephrology social worker as parents and siblings are often challenged in dealing with the overwhelming needs of the CKD child. Grief and loss issues are important to discuss.

The pediatric nephrology social worker is charged by the interdisciplinary team with addressing the multiple issues faced by these children and families. Counseling, advocacy, resource management, and education are foundation services to which the pediatric social worker adds community and school interfacing and mediation services. State and federal guidelines for children's education must be integrated into the overall care plan. Early childhood development resources within the community often are unaware of the specific demands on the child and family dealing with chronic renal disease. Educating these providers is the role of the pediatric nephrology social worker, as well as referral, advocacy and follow-up on the delivery of available services.

This online Pediatric Toolkit is a series of modules that will provide more information on these topics. We invite you to review all of them or pick out only the modules that are most pertinent to your current practice. Please take the time to provide us feedback by clicking here.


ESSENTIALS: Building a Toolkit for Work with Pediatric Patients and Their Families members only

Using the toolkit analogy, this PowerPoint presentation highlights social work interventions and gives case examples as illustrations. The social worker is key in establishing the tone for team's relationship with the patient and family.
Download » Module

Assessment members only

An overview of pediatric nephrology social work assessment focusing on setting the stage for the team’s relationship with the patient and family. A sample assessment tool is included for adaptation by individual units.
Download » Module

Download » Assessment Form PDF Version (can be filled in electronically and printed)

Download » Assessment Form Word Version (for modification by individual unit)

Grief and Loss members only

A thorough overview of the multiple layers of the grief process in pediatric nephrology social work. Principles apply to initial reaction of parents at time of dialysis dependent CKD diagnosis. Includes online references that can be adapted to your setting.
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Insurance members only

An overview of insurance issues including Medicare eligibility and uninsured/undocumented patients and care issues.
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Special note regarding 2010 Health Care Reform

School Issuesmembers only

These sample handouts provide an overview of kidney disease, dialysis and transplant, and introduce the dialysis facility's staff to the child's school. They list possible complications that may impact learning and affect school attendance, and also provide suggestions for accommodations to help students be as successful as possible.
Download » SAMPLE: School Letter for Children on Peritoneal Dialysis
Download » SAMPLE: School Letter for Children on Hemodialysis
Download » SAMPLE: School Letter for Children with Transplant

Child Abuse and Neglect members only

An overview of some of the concerns about child abuse and neglect that are most significant for work with pediatric kidney disease patients.
Download » Module

Transitions members only

A discussion of chronic illness and the psychosocial effects and benefits specific to pediatric patients who are transitioning to adult facilities. Also provides case studies.
Download » Module

Pediatric Patients Speakmembers only

Patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital Pediatric Hemodialysis Center share their thoughts on the pros and cons of fistulas and catheters.
Download » Introduction/How to Use
Download » Module

The CNSW Pediatric Toolkit was developed by a small group of CNSW members dedicated to caring for the pediatric population. The group’s interest has been to promote pediatric programs and to help others understand that children are not small adults. Contributors wish to thank NKF as well as all of the children and families who have taught us over the years.

Coordinated by: Camille Yuscak, LCSW-R, ACSW; Sandra Coorough, ACSW, LCSW; Debbie Brady, LCSW, ACSW