by Dennis Ernst • May 04, 2016
When you're a young patient, healthcare can be a scary place. Within hours of birth, most newborns are welcomed into their new worldly home with a sharp poke to the foot. It's not very welcoming, and a good thing they don't remember. As they grow, they learn needles usually inflict pain. According to pediatric pain specialist Dr. Amy Baxter, MD, 63 percent of all children are afraid of needles. Small wonder since children in the U.S. are mandated to have 36 vaccines by the time they reach the age of six.
While a multitude of distraction techniques and cards, numbing products, and other approaches address pediatric pain during blood collection, several children's books are also available to teach children what to expect and why blood testing is necessary and important. Phlebotomy Today-STAT! provides this review.
Colorful characters named Sally Syringe and Neville Needle walk children through the process of getting their blood drawn. The booklet has its origins in a research activity conducted by Australia's Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education, South Australia (TAFE SA). Since the study involved venipunctures on children, it occurred to the researchers neither parents nor children had anything to prepare themselves for a blood test. To meet the need, the agency produced the booklet, targeting infants on up to teenagers.
"Our government pathology company, SA Pathology, purchased enough copies for all of their collection centres," says Trudy Dalgetty, TAFE SA Pathology Coordinator. "Initial feedback was good, especially as it is written in story form and the children can color in the back pages. It has been very beneficial in the hospital environment."
Availability: TAFE SA web site.
According to the author, this book was written for 9- 12-year olds and is intended not only to help them overcome their fears of having a blood sample withdrawn, but "hopefully they will learn some basic hematology." Sara Ann is very active and athletic, but one day she does not feel well. The doctor orders a CBC, but she's afraid of the needle. The doctor´s office suggests she watch a video that explains what a CBC is to eliminate her fears. Characters in the video Sarah watches include Charlie Circulatory System, Rudi Red Cell, Herman Hemoglobin, Lulu Leukocyte and Patti Platelet. Ned Needle and Betsy Butterfly relate how easy it is to take blood from people´s veins. With her fears put to rest, Sara Ann successfully has her blood sample taken.
Availability: Purchase online from Xlibris.
According to the book's introduction, it is written to help parents get over fears and anxieties they have had in the past involving blood sampling in order to help their own children cope with what should be a simple, stress-free procedure. The bulk of the 96-page book dispels eleven myths of blood collection and the nature of testing. Other sections include answers to commonly asked questions, letters from patients, an extensive glossary of terms, and an illustrated children's story at the end of the book called "The Blood Cell Gang."
The author, a laboratory educator in Pendleton, South Carolina, began sketching laboratory characters that would become the essence of the Lab Explores series in 2000. By 2005, the characters Unit, Eri, Petri and Hema had coalesced and Sometimes When You Feel Bad was launched to teach children what getting their blood drawn was like and why it is necessary. According to a recent article in Advance for Medical Laboratory Professionals, Brock's work imparts an understanding of health on many levels.
"Each story I write not only has information about lab testing, but also encourages good health behavior," says Brock. "For example, in Petri's adventure, children are encouraged to wash their hands, especially after a break in their skin so they don't get germs in the cut."
Brock also stressed the importance of public awareness of the importance of the laboratory's role in healthcare. "The Lab Explorers may only play a small part in promoting our profession, but if we all did a little something to share about our profession, maybe more people would know and appreciate about our valuable contribution to healthcare."
Oodie Goes to the Hospital
Publisher: Greiner Bio-One
Publication Year: 2015
Greiner Bio-One created and published Oodie Goes to the Hospital, a colorfully illustrated children's book the company makes available to those who purchase their capillary collection products as part of their "Perfect Patient Promise" program. The book is intended to be placed in outpatient areas and given to younger patients. "Oodie the Greinersaurus," the company's dinosaur-like mascot, is the main character of the story that chronicles his trip to the hospital where he learns about the importance of blood testing.
"When dealing with young patients, the experience can be scary for the patient and time consuming for the phlebotomist," says Senior Marketing Manager Mackenzie Farone-Waite. "It has been shown that distracting patients can assist with patient comfort during these procedures and make it easier for the phlebotomist to get the sample. That's why we created this book."
Availability: Contact [email protected]
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