Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre Paediatric Care
THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Unfamiliar sounds, noises, and faces can all be scary for a young child. That is why Operating Room staff at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre are taking time to ensure that no paediatric patient will feel scared during their visit to the OR. The OR staff at the Regional has been offering Perioperative Paediatric Tours for the past four years to ensure that the operating room is no longer an intimidating place for paediatric patients when they arrive for their surgery.
The Paediatric Tours allow the children and parents/caregiver to become familiar with the hospital staff and equipment they will encounter during their visit, “We want to ensure that every patient and parent is prepared when they come to us for surgery. Surgery can be scary for both the child and the parent. By creating the Paediatric OR tours every patient has the opportunity to see what the experience will be like firsthand,” explained Dawn Korol, RN.
Children have the opportunity to meet a very informative puppet, Sam Purple, and his friend the anaesthesiologist. Sam Purple shares his OR expertise by demonstrating each device they will encounter on their day of surgery and that these tools will not hurt. This interactive component allows the young OR patients to be fully prepared, and understand the importance each device has during their operation.
While the children have fun learning with Sam Purple, the parents are able to ask staff questions at the back of the OR room. “Parents often have just as many questions as the children do, so it is important that we make sure everyone is informed and comfortable for when the child actually joins us for surgery,” stated Korol.
“You can really tell the difference between a child who has attended the tour and those who have not – the children that have been with us before feel much more comfortable,” explained Dave Vincent, RN.
The tour does not end when the patients go home. The children are able to bring home scrub-like pajamas that were originally provided through the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation/Volunteer Association Family CARE Grants. These pajamas serve as a happy reminder of the fun day the children had with the OR staff, as well as provide them with a positive hospital memory.
Even the staff scheduling becomes a part of the tours after the children have gone home. “We try our hardest to schedule staff that interacted with the children on their tour in the OR on the child’s surgery date. This way there are familiar faces for the children to feel comfortable around, someone they have made a connection with to ease their nerves,” said Korol.
Thanks to all of the efforts of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre staff, the Operating Room is no longer a scary place for the young paeds patients. With a positive 99.4% parent rating, the success of the tours speaks for itself. All children 0-16 are welcome. For more information on the Perioperative Paediatric Tours, contact Dawn Korol at 807-684-6318, or ask at your doctor’s office.