by Lisa Chamoff
, Contributing Reporter | April 13, 2020
From the April 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“If it’s the first time they’re ever having an MR, those are typically the parents that always want to participate,” Cavaliere said.
It’s also important to work with parents ahead of time.
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At The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis, pediatric patients are given activities to do before the exam, such as watching cartoons online, or apps on an iPad related to MR exams. Parents can play out the exam with them beforehand, asking them to hold still while MR scanner noise plays in the background. Some parents even create blanket forts, or use obstacle course tunnels to mimic the MR scanner.
A pediatric patient watches a projector in the Caring MR Suite at the Children's Hospital at Saint Francis in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“When you partner with families, you can get pretty creative,” said Kelly Kemp, child life specialist for pediatric pulmonary and the general pediatric unit for The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis. “The combination of the environment itself and having a child life specialist dedicated to this program who screens these kids and their families beforehand, and meets with the families the day that they get there, makes all the difference in the success rate of these MRs.”
Creating calming environments
Some facilities have found that creating the right ambience is helpful in decreasing anxiety surrounding exams.
Sky Factory creates an illusion of the outdoors inside the exam room with faux multisensory skylights and windows, reducing claustrophobia and using daylight-quality LED artificial light to calm the patient.
Marie Wikoff, an interior designer who works with facilities on Sky Factory installations, said they are more unobtrusive than goggles during exams, which can also incur an added cost in keeping them clean and sanitary.
For pediatric installations, they can add fun features to the sky, like balloons and airplanes.
“A lot of things excite children in a different way than adults,” Wikoff said. “Children need a higher level of engagement. They like to find things that are also artistic. It’s not always a cute puppy dog picture that inspires them. There are things that make them attach to (the picture) because of what’s going on in their lives. We add robots with red eyes, and they can point to that and say, ‘That’s what I feel like today.’”