A new study finds that pediatric cancer patients can avoid anxiety required anesthesia before radiation treatment... by... (wait for it) ...substituting playtime. This was the result of work by a nurse at Johns Hopkins who found that there was no standard protocol other than to routinely give anesthesia to pediatric patients.
"What we found was that we had no standard; we were just basically signing kids up for anesthesia because they were anxious, because of the unknowns. We had complications happen under anesthesia and radiation. Another component was that it was taking up a lot of time. Now, with this program, we can avoid the risk and complications that come along with anesthesia as well as give back that precious time to the family. Kids get stressed staying in radiation too long."
There is a commercial that features a male pediatric oncology nurse giving a patient a shot (I think) and distracts her by singing a song with her. Why only for kids?
I could use playtime to avoid anesthesia before some stressful occasions. Why not?
Honestly every time I go for some stupid scan I don't want to sit in a chair and stress about what they may or may not find after two cancer diagnoses. Nor do I want to watch a TV program on something I don't care about. Nor do I want to pretend to read a book or articles on my tablet.
I would prefer to be playing games and having fun. Or out having coffee with a friend. Or anywhere but in a sterile waiting room watching my blood pressure go through the roof.
Let's start a movement to make hospital waiting rooms less sterile and more focused on patients needs. Where I go waiting rooms have padded chairs, wifi, TV, and usually exterior windows. I want more than that. I want snacks. I want volunteers wandering around talking to patients to help them relax. I want bright colors. (I really just want to be healthy and never have to go to the hospital but I also know that's not going to happen.)
Medical care has come a long way in terms of being more patient friendly but I think there is a long way to go to help reduce patient stress.