Epworth Eastern, Victoria, uses all-wheel drive with a remote control to keep children comfortable before surgery.
Young patients can often develop preoperative anxiety due to being in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by strangers in masks, shields and surgical gowns. Preoperative anxiety has also been shown to increase postoperative confusion.
The idea to take the children to the theater at 4WD in Epworth Eastern was conceived by clinical nurses in the operating room Alex Allen. As part of her ongoing professional development, Allen looked at a study conducted abroad aimed at reducing anxiety in children before surgery.
“The study looked at three groups of children: one group entered the theater, children from the second group were reassured before going to the theater, and a third group of children was brought to the theater in a remote-controlled car,” Allen said.
“The study found that children who were taken to the cinema by car had lower levels of anxiety compared to those who received drugs.”
Theater staff are trained in safe driving with remote control, patient delivery to the theater.
Allen said a car with an individual EE Theater number is already making a difference.
“Before our car came along, we noticed that as soon as kids come around the corner from the theater, they hold on tight to mom or dad, facing such an unfamiliar environment, lots of strangers in masks and lots of equipment .
“Now we notice that children come around the corner in search of a car with excitement, and then, sitting in the car, they are even given the opportunity to play their favorite song. It gives them a sense of control and serves as a great distraction for them.
“Our patients were very happy to ride in the car. One patient was still talking about it while going to bed at the theater. ”
Five-year-old Aston Cook became the first patient to be brought to the theater on a new all-wheel drive.
Associate Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dean White said Aston was incredibly relaxed when he arrived.
“Everyone participates in rallies to relieve stress in an unfamiliar environment with games, chat and music, but it’s always difficult. Our first patient, Aston, couldn’t get to the cinema fast enough and, smiling from ear to ear, jumped on the operating table. It even appeased my mom – a victory around, ”White said.
Epworth CEO Carrie Mae said it is a great help to reassure the youngest patients. “We do ear, nose and throat treatments and minor plastic surgery on children at Epworth Eastern,” Mae said.
“Everything we can do to reduce their anxiety makes it easier for them and their parents and helps them recover.”