How Children’s Hospital Will be More Comfortable for Kids

It is no surprise that aspects of a child’s medical journey can be painful and cause distress, from needle pokes to lumbar punctures. However, an innovative pilot project – the comfort and coping strategy - at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre wants to mitigate the amount of pain and anxiety a child experiences to make being at the hospital as comfortable as possible.

Comfort and coping is a fulsome approach, one that doesn’t focus on one experience of pain, but rather the whole spectrum. When a child is ill, injured or hospitalized, it is not only physical pain that they may feel, but emotional as well. Anxiety, fear and sadness are just some of the feelings that children experience during this stressful and difficult time.

Dr. Javeed Sukhera and his team are looking at how they can bring evidence-based research to the treatment of paediatric pain and turn it into a consistent practice throughout every department in the hospital. Including a child’s parent in a meaningful way and allowing a child to sit up for a procedure, for example, provides a sense of control and has been shown to ease anxiety and enhance their ability to cope with a procedure. If this intervention is used in one area of Children’s Hospital but not in another, it can affect the child’s ability to cope with a familiar procedure in the future. By developing an evidence-based approach that can be used consistently to provide routine and familiarity to a child for a variety of medical procedures, the comfort and coping strategy aims to help ease both physical and emotional pain.

In addition to researching best practices and developing a comprehensive strategy for care delivery, the team is working on creating effective comfort kits based on evidence-based knowledge. These kits will be available for clinicians to use and will include items such as bubbles and pinwheels to help children take deep breaths, and iPads for distraction, guided meditation and teaching. When combined with a trained professional, these items can contribute to a more comfortable hospital experience.

Thank you to Canada Post Community Foundation for your generous donation of $22,156 to support of the creation of a comfort and coping strategy at Children’s Hospital. The future will be more comfortable and manageable for sick and injured children in our region because of you.