Younger patients need a special, child-friendly experience

By on September 26, 2018

Presented by The Outer Banks Hospital

If there’s one thing for sure, children are not “small adults.” Our younger patients require a special, child-friendly experience. That’s why professionals at The Outer Banks Hospital are trained to support the medical and emotional needs of our pediatric patients in a cheerful, comfortable setting.

We know that standard medical talk can be scary for young people. That’s why we speak in kid-friendly terms to help calm children when it comes time for things like “owies” and “special computers that show your heartbeat.”

Advertisement

Our surgical team is well versed in developing trusting relationships by making each child feel special and really listening to his or her concerns. All of our preoperative and recovery nurses are PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certified, and our anesthesia care team includes an anesthesiologist and three CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) with pediatric training (see “Straight Talk from the Doc” box).

Patients Patient beds at The OBH offer whimsical linens for our younger patients, who have the option to choose their own playfully patterned hospital gown and cap. There’s even a “kids’ room” in the operating room (OR) recovery area decorated by local artist Julie Moye, who engaged the help of area students to paint sea creatures. Smiling starfi sh, sea kelp, and jellies cheerfully adorn the walls, and the room curtain is the canvas for a unique wave painting.

We know from experience that it’s also about providing a sense of control. By allowing our younger patients to keep their shoes on, even during the journey to the OR, they are reassured that they will be going home afterwards. There’s even a special child vehicle for the trip to the OR. Along the way, there are aquatic scenes of dolphins and clown fi sh illuminated above for their enjoyment.

And we’re building on the child-friendly experience with updated family focused spaces to establish reassuring environments for young people. Having the option for medical services locally, especially surgery, provides peace of mind because it eliminates the stress and expense of travel. More important, it enables you to remain close to your child’s surgical team during the important days following a procedure.

Of course, we understand that the thought of surgery can be overwhelming for young patients. That’s why we offer children and their families the opportunity to meet the team and tour the hospital prior to the important day. Scheduled through your surgeon’s office, this special one-on-one time allows you and your child to ask questions and become familiar with the hospital. If they choose, children can even take home their own anesthesia mask. It helps them get used to the idea of the mask before the day of surgery so isn’t so scary.

Advertisement

Our focus is to continue to develop services that allow individuals to remain close to home. From labor and delivery and throughout a lifetime, pediatric surgery included, your community hospital is here for you and your family.


Straight Talk from the Doc

Dr. Gary Hunter
TOBH Anesthesiologist

As a parent and a grandparent, I understand the concern that parents have when their child is facing surgery. I also know there’s a misconception that common pediatric surgeries, like ENT (ear, nose, and throat) procedures, are performed at children’s hospitals. Actually the majority take place at surgery centers and community hospitals on an outpatient basis.

For parents, the thought of their child undergoing general anesthesia can be the most frightening part. That’s understandable, but children are resilient and—believe it or not—often tolerate and recover quicker from anesthesia than adults do.

Advertisement

Here at The Outer Banks Hospital, our team is dedicated to providing the most comfortable experience for both the child and the parent. Each pediatric patient has one-on-one nursing care before, during, and after surgery. In addition, because no one can comfort a child better than a parent, we encourage parents to stay with their child up to the time of surgery. We then bring parents back to the recovery room quickly after the procedure.

The scariest time for a child is when they leave their parent. So when it’s time to move to surgery, we utilize distraction techniques such as digital toys or a wagon ride to the OR. The child can be so focused that they don’t even require a sedative before anesthesia is administered.

From my training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and years of experience caring for pediatric patients, I know that we are well equipped to perform pediatric surgery here at OBH. I am proud to work side-by-side with a superb team of surgeons, techs, nurses, and CRNAs (Certifi ed Registered Nurse Anesthetists) who have the training, skills, and personalities to engage and gently care for our youngest patients.

Join the discussion:

Recent posts in this category