by Dennis Ernst • October 07, 2017
Two new approaches to managing pediatric pain during venipunctures made the headlines last month.
R&D Magazine published an article detailing the success Children's Hospital Los Angeles is having with distracting children with virtual reality (VR) during their venipuncture. With the patient's/parent's permission, a VR headset is worn during blood draws, and the child plays Bear Blast, a game specifically designed to be used in this context. In the activity, the patient launches foam balls at animated bears just by looking at them, requiring minimal movements, which is ideal for venipuncture distractions. Patients engaging in a VR activity are more relaxed, giggle, smile, and have fun instead of focusing on the procedure.
The Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies recently published a study comparing the effectiveness of acupressure versus a topical anesthetic in reducing the pain of venipuncture.
Researchers at the University of Medical Sciences in Rafsanjan and the Kerman University of Medical Sciences, both in Iran, set out to prove which was more effective in reducing the severity of venipuncture pain in 6- to 12-year-old children. EMLA, a topical mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine, was used on children in the topical anesthesia group. Subjects in the acupressure groups received a two-point acupressure technique, employing points in the palm of the hand and between the eyebrows. Children in the control group received no intervention.
Five minutes after a routine venipuncture, a behavioral assessment scale rating face and leg activity, crying, and consolability was recorded. The observed severity of pain based on these indicators were significantly lower in acupressure and EMLA groups than that in the control group. There was no significant difference between the acupressure and EMLA groups.
The authors noted that, although acupressure was as effective as topical anesthesia cream, the nurses involved in the study preferred acupressure due to its greater safety, cost-effectiveness, and applicability.
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