Mastering the art of distraction
There are a lot of tricks that need to be learnt when caring for the sick or injured child. Children are often fearful and distressed for a number of reasons when they are in hospital. It could be that they are experiencing pain, or that they are fearful of strange people that are lifting up their top to assess their work of breathing, or we provoke pain by pricking their finger. Whatever the reason it is our job as a health care professional to help ease their pain and anxiety.
I have attached a great article "The Powerful Practice of Distraction" This article discusses some distraction methods used, which can be implemented into practice
Some of the great techniques used where I work include:
Bubbles (of course)
Gloves as balloons +/- a smiley face
Capes for painful procedures (Kindly donated by https://capes4kidsaustralia.com.au/)
Smarty Packs- includes pencils, stickers and colouring-in activities
Toys and activities from TLC Boxes (https://www.tlcforkids.org.au/distraction-box-program/)
And recently we were fortunate enough to have been donated a ceiling projector that shows various images from birds to butterflies
Don't forget that communication can be a distraction technique also. Asking a child about their favourite sport or singing wiggles songs can help a child trust you and allow assessments to occur.
To help other clinicians master the art of distraction please share your ideas as the techniques or tricks above were once shared by others and to help keep up with the new age kids of today this is a practice that is constantly evolving
Dr Danielle Scarfe