How to stop a child from experiencing pain during hospitalization

Science and Health

What is a child who comes to a hospital afraid of? Everything, according to Dr. Noa Rosenfeld-Yehoshua, head of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.

“We do all we can to reduce the pain and fear with all the tools available to us,” she added.

Assuta Ashdod’s pediatric department aims to provide a pain and anxiety free experience for its patients, emphasizing care and not just treatment of the disease. 

“You will not see children screaming in our ward,” Rosenfeld-Yehoshua said. 

To do so, the team could use medical clowns; play movies on the ceiling; provide tablets or toys; or use sedation with gas or an IV, as needed. 

These methods can be used for kids that come with serious injuries like broken legs or who need stitches to kids who need their hearing checked or the wax cleaned out of their ears, explained Dr. Moti Eini, head of the Sedation Unit at the hospital. He said that no one likes the word “medicine,” but sometimes if you give a kid just the right amount it can ensure a smooth procedure. This is essential not only to proper care but also to how the child relates to hospitals in the future.

Rosenfeld-Yehoshua said that in many hospitals staff simply restrain screaming children to complete the work they need to do. This can cause trauma. Children who experience trauma can be afraid of doctors into adulthood, so it is important that hospitalization not cause fear or pain, she said.

Dr. Moti Eini in the pediatric ward at Assuta Ashdod Hospital (Credit: Rena Young)

Assuta Ashdod’s sedation program is used in all of its pediatric units, which include an inpatient ward, pediatric urgent care, intensive care, a children’s day clinic and a pediatric clinic.

The hospital’s website says, “we are at the service of our young patients and their families, providing support, promoting their health and enabling them to keep smiling.”

And according to Eini, this is exactly how it works.

“All of our staff are obliged to this goal,” Rosenfeld-Yehoshua added. “We want to improve medical outcomes and get children help when they need it.”

This article is written in cooperation with Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital. To make a year-end contribution, click here.