For many children (and their parents!), going to the hospital can be an unsettling experience. The unfamiliar sights, sounds and people may reinforce the child’s anxiety and add to their parents’ concern. To help make your and your child’s experience at Wolfson Children’s Hospital a more positive one, our Child Life, Pediatric Radiology and Pediatric Anesthesiology have joined together to take the scary out of one aspect of those visits.
Wolfson Children’s now offers the “MR – I Am Ready!” program for children scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The program is designed to help children ages 6-11 complete their MRIs without the need for sedation. Wolfson Children’s is one of very few children’s hospitals in the nation offering the program, which is provided free of charge.
“MR – I Am Ready!” is guided by an experienced child life specialist, expressly trained in helping children adapt to the hospital setting. This staff member is there to provide a familiar face and help parent and child prepare for and navigate the process from training and familiarization through the completed procedure.
Choosing non-sedation avoids possible side effects of sedation, makes it possible to schedule the MRI sooner than would be required with sedation and gets your child and your family back to your normal routine, safely and quickly.
You and your child will come in one week prior to the actual MRI to meet with the child life specialist. The specialist will individually prepare your child for the MRI by showing pictures of everything he or she will see, explaining the sequence of events your child can expect when returning for the MRI, and teaching coping strategies.
The child life specialist will also have the child practice lying still in a play tunnel while hearing the sounds of the MRI scanner. By knowing and understanding the procedure in advance, your child will be able to develop and rehearse coping skills for the actual MRI.
The child life specialist will also give you and your child additional resources to use at home to continue practicing for the MRI.
On the day of the MRI, the child life specialist will meet with you and continue to provide preparation and support to ensure that the procedure is a success! You are welcome to be in the room during the procedure.
Parents who are concerned that their child cannot have a successful MRI without sedation may be encouraged by the track record of the program. At Wolfson Children’s, nearly all patients who have completed the training have gone on to have successful sedation-free MRIs. “MR – I Am Ready!” is a highly effective method of equipping children and parents to cope with what may seem like an intimidating experience. And should your child prove unable to complete the program, the sedation MRI stays on the Pediatric Anesthesia schedule so your child’s MRI is not delayed.
You can learn more about “MR – I Am Ready!” by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.