An Approach To Relieving Your Child's Fear Of Hospitals

A new series of studies and experiments by the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, illustrate the stress- and fear-reducing effects of a specific pre-operative protocol called perioperative dialogue (PD). The results show that PD can help to significantly lessen the fears children have of hospitals versus those who receive standard pre-operative care.

By measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of 93 children aged 5 to 13 years, researchers were able to compare the overall stress levels of children who were receiving standard care, those who were given additional information on the day of surgery, and those who followed the PD protocol.

The children who were engaged in perioperative dialogue had lower levels of stress and required less morphine to manage post-operative pain than the other two groups.

In addition to confirming the efficacy of PD, the studies also presented a new way of measuring stress in children. The drawings of children in school—a safe, familiar setting—were compared with those in the hospital. Those drawn in the hospital tended to show decreased pen pressure and fewer colors, corresponding with the increased fear the child felt.

Finally, interviews conducted with the 6- through 9-year-olds provides new insight into the coping process hospital-bound children undergo. Initially, children try to control a situation that is unfamiliar to them. Then they are forced to adapt to the lack of control as they begin to respond to factors such as sedation and anesthetics.

Taken together, the Swedish team's research illustrates the importance of engaging a child verbally and through pictures during the entire perioperative period. By explicitly drawing out and addressing a child's concerns prior to surgery, stress and fear can be reduced and overall patient outcomes improved.

Source: Medical News Today
Photo: Pexels

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

If it seems nearly impossible to get something off your mind, your anxiety might be out of control. Getting a handle on your anxiety will allow...

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may experience heightened levels of anger, and this emotion can worsen symptoms associated with the...

Hoarding is the behavior of acquiring an excessive number of items that have little or no value. While many people consider themselves to be "pack...

Effexor is an antidepressant that has been on the market since 1993. It is a member of the SNRI class of antidepressants (serotonin-norepinephrine...

According to researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health, teenagers experiencing excessive fatigue often also have anxiety disorders...

More Articles

Anxiety can be so overwhelming that it is easy to forget that there are things you can actively do to combat it. One simple technique that many...

Stress can strike anyone at any time, but anxiety occurs when stress is present for an extended amount of time, from several months to several...

A recent study on anxiety and exercise found better results with resistance training than with aerobic exercise, despite the fact that most of the...

If you struggle with exam anxiety, you’re not alone. Test-taking can be one of the anxiety causes while in school, but it can be overcome.

...

In the first study of its kind in this specific patient population, researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found...

The term antipsychotic refers to a large group of medications that are most often used to treat the psychotic symptoms found in people with...

Medications are an important tool for people dealing with anxiety, but most experts agree that they are best used as a short-term solution for...

The terms panic attack and anxiety attack are used interchangeably by most people, but are panic and anxiety really the same thing?

Panic...

Published in the journal Neuron, research suggests that there may be a single protein that can turn cortisol production on and off, one of only a...

Parnate, known generically as tranylcypromine, is an antidepressant of the class known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It is usually...

A new study has successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using drugs that don't...

You know that having an anxiety disorder affects your child’s peer relationships, but recent research indicates that not all anxious children have...

Catastrophe anxiety, or put just as well, catastrophic thinking, is a kind of anxiety disorder defined in Psychology Today as "ruminating about...

While both men and women can experience anxiety and...

Anxiety levels can be affected by a number of different physiological disorders, including the common sleep disorder known as sleep apnea....