Helping Children Cope With Medical Tests and Interventions
SourceJournal of Radiology Nursing, 36, 1, (2017), pp. 44-50
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Radiology Nursing
SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Medical procedures and tests become a challenge when anxiety and pain make it difficult for the patient to cooperate or remain still when needed. Fortunately, a short intervention with hypnoidal language at the onset of a procedure induces a positive and sustained change in the way pain and anxiety are processed. Although anesthesia may appear to be a simple solution to eliminate pain, the adverse effects of preanesthesia anxiety on postoperative behavior and recovery are often not fully appreciated. This article discusses options for self-hypnotic relaxation that are applicable to interactions with children. The high suggestibility of children makes it relatively easy to engage them in make-believe scenarios. Avoidance of negative suggestions is key in avoiding nocebo effects that may be difficult to overcome later. Once a child is immersed in his or her preferred scenario or hobby/activity of choice, environmental and procedural stimuli can be easily integrated in the imagery. Ego-strengthening metaphors that tie in features of strength, confidence, or resilience are particularly empowering. Even when children are fully under general anesthesia, they may still have recall of what is said in the room, and therefore, caution in word choice should be maintained.
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