Psychological preparation of children for surgery

Author: PhDr. Miroslav Světlák, Tereza Stepaková

Institution: Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University in Brno

Medical discipline: Emergency Medicine

Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder | anesthesia | psychological preparation | anxiety

Educational evel: Undergraduate level | Graduate

Research shows that 40 % to 60 % of children, especially of pre-school and early school age, experience anxiety and stress before a surgery requiring general anaesthesia. Subsequently, some of them show post-traumatic stress symptoms, which continue to affect the child’s overall condition, recovery, and compliance with any other medical care. Children under seven years of age are considered to be the most endangered group. Several preventive measures can be taken that reduce the risk of developing a post-traumatic stress response. This algorithm endeavours to draw healthcare professionals’ attention to the critical points of the entire procedure of preparing a child for the surgery under general anaesthesia in terms of psychology, that can help children better manage medical intervention.

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Medical procedures can be mentally exhausting for a child. In the presented algorithm, the basic idea of a sensitive approach and the need to let the child’s emotions and expressions flow (fear, anxiety, crying), which belong to a healthy mental function, repeatedly appears. Following the procedure in the prepared example, doctors can become aware of the tendencies towards their own reactions, or revise them with feedback in the correct answers. The algorithm of the Psychological preparation of children for surgery is based on erudite foundations, offering the basic principles of preparation and behaviour of the doctor in relation to the child in the given situation without unnecessary “ballast”.

publikováno: 5. 6. 2021 | last modified on: 28. 9. 2021