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Tackling pediatric fears of medical imaging

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | March 08, 2021
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Sky Factory utilizes ceiling applications known as SkyCeilings that appear to the viewer as though they are looking at the open sky. In this way, the patient can experience the tranquility of open spaces at a time when they might otherwise be feeling very much boxed in.

“To calm a child, it is much more important to integrate their mind and body, rather than supply external interference,” said David Navarrete, director of research initiatives and accredited education for Sky Factory. “This is the reason why a view to nature (and particularly the sky) is so effective in dispelling stress and anxiety; it releases an automatic relaxation response.”

Sky Factory's Luminous SkyCeiling
Preparation is key
To reduce anxiety, many providers seek to educate children prior to their scans. Philips’ Kittenscanner, for instance, enables pediatric patients to learn about the exam and machinery with a smaller version of a CT or MR scanner. The child can scan a toy, with a display showing them the insides of the figure, how the scanner works and why the exam is needed. This enables the patient to understand why they need a scan themselves and how the process works, in a kid-friendly manner.

“This distraction helps them minimize or eliminate scary thoughts and makes them more in control of the situation,” Werner Satter, GM of Healthcare Experience Solutions at Philips, told HCB News. “This can have a very calming effect.”

Another tactic is to include the child in setting up for the exam, according to Glen Nicholson, worldwide product manager for mobile solutions at Carestream. “Our DR tables all lower to a level that is easy for young patients to get onto themselves, allowing them to be a part of and assist with their exam.”

In addition, the company’s R/F solution, the DRX-Excel Plus, features ambient lighting that gently scrolls through the colors of the rainbow and allows the site to play soothing music during the exam. It also has pediatric-friendly side panels on its mobile solutions, the DRX-Revolution and DRX-Revolution Nano, for further comfort. “Capturing an image as quickly as possible, having the system move around the patient rather than having to move the patient, and being able to assure the patient (and their family members) that the lowest possible X-ray dose is being used — these are all things that allow the technologist to reassure the patient,” said Nicholson.

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