Computers distract children during venipuncture procedures

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This study assessed the effectiveness of playing a computer game during venipuncture, compared with low-tech distraction by a nurse” Crevatin et al (2016).

Abstract:

AIM: Needle related procedures can be painful for children and distraction provides ideal pain relief in blood-drawing centres. This study assessed the effectiveness of playing a computer game during venipuncture, compared with low-tech distraction by a nurse.

METHODS: We conducted this prospective randomised controlled trial at the blood-drawing centre of a tertiary-level children’s hospital in Italy. Half of the 200 children played Angry Birds on a handheld computer while the other half were distracted by a second, specially nurse trained who sang to them, read a book, blew bubbles or played with puppets. Pain was measured using a faces pain scale for children aged 4-7 years and a numeric scale for children aged 8-13 years.

RESULTS: The 200 children had a median age of eight years. Children reported significant pain in 16 cases (16%) in the handheld computer distraction group and in 15 cases (15%) in the nurse-led low-tech distraction group (p = 0.85). The procedural success rate at the first attempt was not different in the two groups.

CONCLUSION: Playing a game on a handheld computer meant that only one in six children reported pain during venipuncture, but it was not superior to being distracted by nurses.

Reference:

Crevatin, F., Cozzi, G., Braido, E., Bertossa, G., Rizzitelli, P., Lionetti, D., Matassi, D., Calusa, D., Ronfani, L. and Barbi, E. (2016) Handheld computers can help to distract children undergoing painful venipuncture procedures. Acta Paediatrica. April 29th. [Epub ahead of print].

doi: 10.1111/apa.13454.

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