Nanaimo Regional General Hospital's child life specialist is optimistic that a new virtual tour will help alleviate the fear young patients may have of surgery.
Vancouver Island Health Authority announced the new online photo tour on Tuesday, in an effort to give young patients a detailed look at the experience they can expect when going under the knife.
NRGH performs some 870 pediatric surgeries per year. According to VIHA, more than 2,500 patients aged 17 or younger go under the knife each year in its facilities.
"One of the key components of a child life specialist is helping prepare children and families for hospital experiences, reducing those unknowns and giving them an idea of what to expect," said Kelly Raymond.
Families and their children have previously been supplied with a preparation book detailed with photographs upon their arrival at the hospital on surgery day.
The new online tour enabled families to explore the topic weeks in advance to help young patients better prepare themselves for their big day.
Raymond had been doing volunteer work in Morocco with an organization that helps correct cleft lips and palates in children when the idea came to her.
While there, part of her work was to show photographs to families and children about the setting and the procedures, which helped put them at ease.
"I just realized, 'yeah, this stuff is good. It helps so much in terms of predictability,'" she said. "Coming back (to Nanaimo) I thought, 'we need to have something like that in place.'" The online tour announced on Tuesday avoided any 'gory' details about surgical procedures and aimed to inform youth of all ages about what they can expect.
Raymond, working alongside Ken Smith of VIHA's multimedia services branch, aimed to make the information in the five-minute narrated tour easy to understand.
The narrated photo-tour can be accessed from www.vimeo. com/viha/surgery.
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