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Specialities from A to Z
Paediatrics is the medical discipline which studies how to treat conditions affecting new-born babies, children and adolescents, and how to support their physiological and psychomotor development, with children being defined as individuals aged under 18 years old (Article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). A doctor who is specialised in paediatrics is known as a paediatrician. In this field, which deals with an organism that is constantly developing and changing, early diagnosis is crucial for the prognosis.
Paediatricians specialise in caring for patients who are growing and developing. This task covers the medical assessment of babies before they are born in cooperation with obstetricians, care for premature babies, new-born babies and infants, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents. As well as physical conditions, paediatricians study and treat any disorders affecting psychomotor development, as well as mental health issues. Care for injured children and child protection also fall under the remit of paediatrics, and are fields in which the medical activity is closely connected to that of paediatric surgeons.
Preventing physical and mental diseases in children and adolescents is also an important aim of paediatrics.
Like all fields of medicine, paediatrics is becoming increasingly specialised. Providing specialised care to children and adolescents requires high-level skills in general paediatrics. It is not possible to run a modern paediatrics department without having a team of paediatricians who are specialised in different fields, as well as an infrastructure that is appropriate for children. Within their speciality, paediatricians are expected to apply examination and consultation techniques that are suited to the age of their patients, and to appropriately correlate the child’s condition to his/her overall state of health. In addition, paediatricians are responsible for ensuring that treatment and care are continued after the child’s discharge from hospital, by coordinating communication between the child, his/her family, and any specialists, therapists and referring doctors who are involved. They also cover a wide range of paediatric sub-specialities (dermatology, endocrinology, infectiology, intensive care medicine, cardiology, neonatology, neuropaediatrics, pneumology, rheumatology etc.) thanks to their close connections to university hospitals.
In paediatrics, the whole family is involved in the treatment. Studies have shown that the duration of treatment is substantially reduced if the parents can stay close to their child. Parents are therefore not viewed as visitors – they are inseparably associated with the child.
Assistant doctors, medical students and nursing students are made aware of these priorities as part of their training and improving their skills in our departments.
The Valais Hospital paediatric department cares for all children from birth to the end of their 16th year.
The medico-surgical paediatric department of the Centre Hospitalier du Centre du Valais in Sion and the mother-child department of the Centre Hospitalier du Haut-Valais in Visp both provide paediatric services.
All our sites have a paediatric accident and emergency department, a polyclinic providing consultations in sub-specialities of paediatrics and a hospitalisation unit for patients being cared for in the paediatric, paediatric surgery and neonatology departments. Neonatology is the part of paediatrics which deals with the care of new-born babies. The Centre Hospitalier du Centre du Valais in Sion also provides intensive care in neonatology. Close cooperation with the obstetrics department on all sites allows us to detect and even sometimes to prevent foetal malformations and to treat any conditions from birth.
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