Just as we got able to overcome the kid's fear of the doctor's office--triggered by the wallpaper border and the icy, hard scale in changing/weighing room--the kid'd have another shot, and we'd be back to square one, having to prep her and pre-comfort her all over again. There's something about getting held down and jabbed with a needle that kids just don't like, I guess.
That was my theory. And it turns out I was right, at least according to a survey of parents--moms and dads, nice work--sponsored by Anesiva, a biomedical company which makes tools for pain management [like the catchy-sounding Zingo [tm], which helps reduced IV pain. Sing for it by name.]
Anyway, Anesiva's survey found that "70% of kids and 69% of mothers" felt "fear, stress, or anxiety" during hospital visits involving a needle. [Dads? no problem, I guess. Or not enough of one to make the need for Anesiva's products sound double-urgent.]
How to alleviate this anxiety? My other idea--regular screenings of Pulp Fiction with the kid--hasn't worked. And Pete Doherty's desentitization approach doesn't cut it with the DEA, much less the FDA. [Watch for his book, though, It's Just A Needle, sometime next spring.] Here's what some pain management folks suggest:
* Visit the hospital first. Before your child has surgery, bring him or her in to meet one of the healthcare professionals that may be performing the procedure. The “fear of the unknown” is often the scariest part of the hospital experience for children, so familiarizing them with the medical team should diminish that panic considerably. * Role play. Work with your child to simulate a hospital visit using dolls, cars or other toys. Let your child practice not only his or her own role, but the part of the doctor and parent, too. This will empower your child to understand what the hospital visit will consist of, again reducing the fear of the unknown. * Develop questions. Almost every new parent jots down concerns before heading to the pediatrician, and it is never too early to get children into the same habit. Ask your child to write down questions for the nurse or physician about what they are most concerned about. For children too young to write or dictate, drawings can have the same conversation-starting effect. * Keep it consistent. Children respond well to seeing familiar faces, so if you’re in a multi-physician practice, make an effort to schedule hospital visits with the same doctor. * Ask for tools. Before you visit the hospital for your child’s needle-stick procedure, ask the healthcare professional for pain-reducing and/or distraction techniques to be employed prior to or during the procedure.Hmm. If only I could think of the name of a needle-related pain management tool off the top of my head...
Fear of Needle Sticks Causes Significant Stress and Anxiety in Parents and Children, New Parent Survey Finds [anesiva.com via friendly biomed pr guy]