Patient Distraction Systems

Improving Procedure Quality

Having a hospital procedure can be a stressful experience for a child.  The anxiety, especially with small children, can make it more difficult not only on the child, but also on the medical professionals trying to complete the procedure.  The Children’s Hospital is the first hospital in Oklahoma to use new, innovative technology to calm children’s fears.  A high-tech radiology suite and a multi-sensory machine allow anxious children to gain more control of their environments while undergoing pre-operative procedures and imaging processes.

Ambient Experience Fluoroscopy Suite

The Children’s radiology department has introduced a new interactive imaging suite for children undergoing fluoroscopy procedures called Ambient Experience. The fluoroscopy suite, manufactured by Philips Healthcare, is the first one of its kind in the nation. Whether it’s a jungle theme or a trip to Europe, the suite allows children to escape into the environment of their choice by integrating architecture, design and lighting technologies. With a touch of a button, the room can instantly change from blue to orange or from an animated sea adventure to a trip to Australia.

Vecta Multi-sensory Environment

When children are able to have choices and interact with a room by changing the room’s entire color or theme, the children are able to feel more in control. The opportunities for control through choices help a child’s level of anxiety decrease,” said Ashley Claver, CCLS, certified child life specialist. “During procedures, children are able to interact with and focus on the images on the wall, which help with distraction during procedures.”  No longer does diagnostic imaging and, even simpler procedures have to happen in sterile, non-aesthetic environments.

Another new tool allows children in a typical exam room to watch colored bubbles rise up a long water column or dancing designs projected on a wall.  The portable interactive device, called a Vecta, can be wheeled from room to room to create a multi-sensory environment that helps take a child’s attention off of medical matters and to soothe fears.

“Even simple tasks, such as a nurse checking vital signs, can cause anxiety in a child. Through the multi-sensory environment, children can become more relaxed and engage in an activity which ultimately contributes to positive coping,” said Alyssa Geis, CCLS, another one of Children’s team of child life specialists.

Child life specialists are professionals who act as liaisons between medical personnel and patients, helping to promote positive coping through a variety of healthcare experiences.

Vecta is currently being used during pre-operative procedures in Children’s outpatient surgery and in the operating room to divert attention as older infants and toddlers are given anesthesia. It’s also been effective when used with children with special needs, such as autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy.

The brain’s reaction to distraction techniques leads to less pain and decreased anxiety which contributes to a lesser need for medication in children.

Vecta, manufactured by TFH USA, is used in other healthcare and learning environments for purposes including leisure and relaxation. Reactions from patients include calming sensory experiences, increased attention and increased choice making.