Many children are afraid of needles to varying degrees, and may become anxious in the days leading up to a medical visit or take longer to get shots or blood draws because of their fear. For some, that fear can reach the point of interfering with their medical care.
On our sister blog Thriving, child psychologist Carolyn Snell, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Medical Coping Clinic shares five tips for families that can help them prepare their child for blood draws and other procedures requiring needle sticks. She also shares suggestions for approaching situations where a child’s needle phobia is so great that it delays necessary care.
Families are often unsure about how to prepare their child for a stay in the hospital, regardless of whether its for one night or for longer. They worry about making their child anxious, providing the wrong information, keeping their child connected to family and friends and more.
Providing children with information about what to expect in an age-appropriate and specific manner can help with any anxiety they may be experiencing and reduce their distress. This reduced anxiety and distress can, in turn, be associated with positive outcomes for children, such as improved sleep and decreased pain while in the hospital. It can also improve children’s confidence and correct any misconceptions they might have about the hospitalization process.
Snell offers five tips for families that can help them prepare their child for a hospital stay.