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

Nortriptyline, marketed in the United States under the trade names Pamelor and Aventyl, is a tricyclic antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat...

Anxiety control or fear of losing control may happen during a panic attack you might think you were having a heart attack or some other...

Uncontrollable shaking can happen when your arms, hands, legs and even your entire body may feel shaky or like they are trembling.

Some...

Psychology professionals often recommend their clients adopt a pet as part of their mental health treatment. Or, they might prescribe structured...

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...

More Articles

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter most linked to mood disorders like depression, but scientific evidence showing the role it plays is surprisingly...

It is a good idea to monitor your level of stress and do what you can to minimize it during the day. We might meditate, go for a long walk, soak...

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

There are two main strategies used to overcome social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”). The first is medication and the second...

Getting around town during peak traffic hours can bring stress to even the most relaxed of us, but what if just getting in your car is enough to...

Prayer for anxiety may help some with dealing with the disorder. Listed below are the anxiety prayers that personally help me. Whatever your faith...

All children experience fear and anxiety. They might get upset when separated from caregivers. They may be fearful of the dark, monsters in the...

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but it is increasingly being prescribed off-label...

We are aware of which foods to avoid when struggling with generalized anxiety disorder, but knowing which items can actually help reduce your...

In many cases, a mental disorder can be just as disabling as a physical one. That seems to be the case with Los Angeles Dodger Hong-Chih Kuo, who...

The monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) tranylcypromine (brand name: Parnate) is an antidepressant sometimes used for the treatment of anxiety...

This article was written exclusively for LivingWithAnxiety.com by Camille Rynd. She explains why she resorted to self-medicating and how much...

Have you ever heard the expression, “A cup of probiotic yogurt a day helps keep anxiety at bay”?

Not likely since it was just made up, but...

Many people with anxiety or depression are interested in finding a "natural" treatment method that can help ease their symptoms. For some people,...

Facing our fears isn't an easy task for anyone of any age and we tend to run from our fears or expect them to disappear with time. Reducing the...