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UI researchers seek to ease children's pain during medical procedures
Date:10/16/2007

A new system under development by a team of researchers at the University of Iowa will help children better cope with pain during difficult medical procedures.

The system works by using a Web-based software to advise nurses on the best way to distract children from the procedures that cause the pain. The distractions could be anything from having a book read to them, watching a video, talking, or playing a game.

The research team, led by professors Ann Marie McCarthy (left) and Charmaine Kleiber in the College of Nursing and Nick Street in the Tippie College of Business, developed the software after analyzing data from a multi-site research study that observed parents distracting their children, who were undergoing painful procedures.

The study helped the researchers determine how children cope with pain and what distractions worked best to keep their minds off the pain.

Children between the ages of 4 and 10 at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital participated in this study. Data were collected from 542 subjects, all of whom were having an IV line inserted while a video camera recorded the event.

The data was collected by having parents and children complete questionnaires and by analyzing videotapes of the procedures. Members of the research team reviewed the video and graded the children's distress. Children who experienced more pain and had more difficulty coping received higher scores. Children were also able to report how painful the procedure was by using a scale with happy and sad faces on it.

"We're now using that data to build software that will determine the best strategy for distracting a child from the procedure, based on what we know about the child and the type of procedure," said Street (left), a Tippie professor of management sciences who mined the data and is developing the software.

The software will also determine the parent's capacity for providing the distraction.

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Contact: Tom Snee
tom-snee@uiowa.edu
319-384-0010
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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