Creative Ways to Reduce Anxiety Level of Patients During MRI Scan
It is known to many people that MRI systems make a bunch of terrible noises that often scares people who’re about to take their MRI scan for the first time. A brilliant story from Doug Dietz, the creator of the MR Adventure Discovery Series. A young patient was coming into the MR room to be scanned: “I see this young family coming down the hallway and I can tell as they get closer that the little girl is weeping & full of anxiety. As they get even closer to me, I notice the father leans down and just goes ‘remember we talked about this, you can be brave’,” says Dietz. As they walked into the MR suite, Dietz had the chance to see the room through the girl’s eyes for the first time: “Everything was kind of like, beige” he said, describing what he calls ‘crime scene’ stickers (which tell patients where to go), and the exclamation mark warning sign on the door. “The room itself is kind of dark and has those flickering fluorescent lights” and adds “that machine that I had designed basically looked like a brick with a hole in it.”
Solving the Problem with the Adventure Series
The engineer started from the knowledge that the anxiety curve for both children and parents starts with finding out that the child has to have the scan. The anxiety is then exacerbated until they find themselves in the hospital, already upset by the time they see the scanner. The plan was simple: offer an environment that was so welcoming that children would feel like being scanned is an adventure and not a trial. To do so, they asked customers and children about what they would like during ideation sessions.
The pilot rooms, which were showcased in the University of Pittsburgh Hospital, received an incredible response. In the variety of adventures, which include aromatherapy, calming decorations, and in some cases, disco-ball bubbles, children are transported to another, more imaginative world where simple commands to get the scan done accurately become part of the adventure. In one of the Adventure Series, children have to get into a canoe and are made to lie down inside. “They tell children to hold still so that they don’t rock the boat, and if you really do hold still, the fish will start jumping over the top of you,” Dietz explains.
In the Pirate Adventure, a visual transformation of the equipment that was available before, patients are on a dock. There are a shipwreck and some sandcastles in the corner. Children then work on the plank to be scanned. The Coral City Adventure in the emergency room gives children an underwater experience. It has a disco ball that makes light-like bubbles around the room; children get into a yellow submarine and listen to the sound of harps whilst the procedure takes place. The Cozy Camp gives children the chance to be scanned in a specialized sleeping bag, under a starry sky in an impressive camp setting The Results Speak for Themselves
Children pick up on their parent’s reactions when they enter the room, and the setting makes them all feel at ease. “I know for sure, if you’ve got the child, you’ve got the parent. If you’ve got the parent, you can get the child, because they are always looking for that reaction.”
Many children suffer from anxiety and are not able to stay still whilst the procedure is underway, making the process stressful and forcing scans to be redone. The new child-friendly scanners make a big difference in how children react to being scanned; scanning time has been reduced and there is more room for more patients to be scanned sooner. This success with patients isn’t everything for the team. “I measure success on the influence that I have had on the conversation on the ride home for the family.”
Another Easy Solution for Happy & Stress-Free Patients During MRI Scan?
Unfortunately, despite the amazing results a colorfully painted MRI can bring to hospitals/doctors, a colorful or creatively painted MRI will not be a good enough solution for every patient. This specific method would definitely work on children and younger age patients, but, not all adults would feel the same way about this innovative idea/method. Moreover, as mentioned above, an MRI scan experience can be a very unpleasant 30-minute experience for some patients, especially for those who suffer from anxiety attacks and/or tremors, it’s practically a nightmarish experience for some. Luckily, there is a simple alternative solution for hospitals & doctors to address this issue! Through years of innovative research, development, and design, we’ve dedicated ourselves to create an easy solution to increase the patients’ comfort level during an MRI scan experience.
Sound Imaging proudly introduces our updated MRI Visors, patient video entertainment goggles that mimic an immersive theater experience, offering patients varieties of full-HD quality videos via a video cable or SD card. With pleasing video entertainment, MRI Visor is proven to ultimately reduce the overall anxiety & claustrophobia level of many patients, especially children who were scared to have his/her first MRI scan. Our MRI Visors were carefully designed & engineered to function properly inside any MRI dome. The best part? Our MRI Visors come in both fully portable & semi-portable versions, resulting in no downtime required for installation. Sound Imaging is your one-stop shop for all MRI system and comfort suite products that are not only high-quality but also certified low-price. Please, feel free to visit our website to check all our MRI comfort suite products including the MRI Visors, MRI Stereo, MRI BoreCam, and MRI PMT.
Materials partly provided by the MR Adventure Discovery Series.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length purposes.