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

>"Not all parents are equally cut out for helping their children through medical procedures," said McCarthy, a professor of nursing and chair of the nursing school's Parent, Child and Family Area. "Sometimes, it might be best to bring in a distraction coach who has special training to keep children occupied."

The distractions, she said, are anything that takes captures the attention of the child so that they focus on the distraction and not the procedure; reading a book, talking about school, coloring, drawing.

"In pain management, one size doesn't fit all," McCarthy said. "Some children need intensive distraction, some might need none at all. This software will tell the nurse what group each child should be in and what type of intervention to provide."

McCarthy said the long-term health effects of making it easier for children to cope with pain could be profound.

"This is important because more than 4 million children require painful medical procedures, and we know undergoing those procedures can affect health care decisions later in life," said McCarthy. "If we can provide a distraction, then the children are more likely to find the event to be less traumatic and are less likely to undergo serious psychological trauma."

The next step in the research will begin in January, when researchers will pilot the software to determine what types of distractions work best with different parents and children. Street said the software asks a brief series of questions of the children and their parents about such things as previous experiences with procedures and pain, parenting styles, and anxiety issues.

Based on the answers and the type of procedure, the software will suggest a distraction strategy to the nurse and recommend whether the parents should do the distracting, or a coach should be brought in.

McCarthy said researchers will observe 580 subjects over 30 months during the next phase of research. The childr
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Contact: Tom Snee
tom-snee@uiowa.edu
319-384-0010
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

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