May 23, 2007

Contact:
Rachelle Wood
Corporate Communications & Public Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 77642

Year One of NAP Program a Success!

(LONDON, Ontario) – Imagine your child having to undergo surgery all alone. Now imagine being able to accompany and reassure your child in the Operation Room as anaesthesia is induced.

At LHSC’s Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario (CHWO), this is now a reality as a result of the NAP program, which allows a parent or caregiver to stay with his/her child during anaesthesia induction, and to play an active role by being present throughout his/her child or youth’s surgery experience. Initially implemented as a pilot program last year, it has recently expanded to all children’s elective surgeries at LHSC/CHWO.

“The thought of going into surgery is something that can be very scary to children. It can cause separation anxiety, nightmares and in some cases, a regression in development,” says Ellen Rosen, Vice-President, Women’s and Children’s Clinical Services, LHSC. “It can also be very tough for parents or caregivers to see their child heading off to surgery in distress.”

Just ask Julieanne Makin, whose daughter was petrified of coming to the hospital to have her tonsils removed. “As a nurse, I have seen and dealt with many different hospital situations. However, in this case, when it was my child having surgery, my most important role was that of ‘mom’ and believe me, just like my daughter, I was nervous, too.”

“The NAP program allowed my daughter to role play, put an IV in a doll, tour the operating area, and ask lots of questions. Also, by being able to watch a video together, which explained what would occur in the Operation Room, we both understood and felt more comfortable with her surgery,” adds Makin.

The NAP program was the result of input and ideas from a wide variety of sources including a focus group of patients between the ages of 9 and 17, who came up with the program name, as well as representatives from the LHSC/CHWO Family Advisory Council, surgery, children’s and anaesthesia. Similar programs in use at other hospitals were also reviewed as the NAP program was developed.

It is mandatory for NAP program participants to watch an education video, which features three parents providing advice on the sequence of events in the anaesthesia process and supportive tips for their prospective role in the Operating Room. The families also tour the physical environments, Paediatric Day Surgery, Operating Room and Post Anaesthesia Care Unit, with the child participating through hands on medical play. The education session is designed to help decrease potential stress and anxiety, enhance adjustment to the hospital environment, and prepare families for the surgery experience.

Says Dr. Lynn Coveney, Anaesthesiologist, LHSC, “There was a real team effort involved in making this happen. The child life specialists worked very hard to create the video and print material in order to properly prepare the parents. The nurses and the personal service attendants were also very supportive and key to NAP’s success.”

Adds Michelle Wilband, Child Life Coordinator, LHSC/CHWO, “The child hears his/her parent or caregiver’s voice as he/she falls asleep and feels his/her parent or caregiver’s touch, as opposed to that of a stranger. Being involved in that level of care provides a source of comfort, strength and courage in what is understandably, a very emotional time”.

The NAP program has received a positive response, with parents and caregivers expressing appreciation for being part of their child’s care by being present with their child prior to surgery, during anaesthesia induction in the Operating Room and later during the recovery process.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number more than 9,000 and together they provide care for more than 1 million patients last year.

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Last Updated May 31, 2007 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada