Edge Hill University

Making hospitals less frightening for children

A team from Edge Hill University worked directly with children and their parents to improve their experiences of attending hospitals for procedures. 

Professors Lucy Bray and Bernie Carter observed and interviewed children having procedures like X-rays and blood tests, and their parents. They also carried out international research to discover health professionals’ practices when treating children who may be upset at having procedures.

They learned that children are less likely to be distressed and held against their will if they know what will happen and can make choices to help them cope with the procedure. The team, along with senior lecturer Ed Horowicz, facilitated drama workshops to explore what is important to children when they come to hospital. The children’s ideas and the team’s previous research were brought together to create the Children Coming to Hospital animations and comic strip.

The work has had a real impact on children who need to go to hospital, as nine-year-old Esme Rice explains: “Lucy’s animation tells children to speak up and be brave about asking questions. In the video the girl said that whatever you feel is ok and I think that’s a really important thing to remember. I’d like my doctors to watch this because sometimes I think they don’t realise how scary some things at hospital can be.”

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