Easing Fears of Pediatric Sedation

Will it hurt? Why am I being put to sleep? Will I wake up? These are some of the common questions asked by children who are being sedated for the first time.

 Dr. Michael Parrish poses for a photo at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Michael Parrish

The pediatric sedation team at McMaster Hospital Children specializes in calming the fears of young patients and their families while offering specialized care that is unique in the region.

“Sedation is medication given to a patient who requires a reduced level of consciousness while undergoing a procedure,” explains Dr. Michael Parrish, a Pediatric Anesthesiologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital. “This can range from mild to deep sedation.”

Explaining the unknown

Child Life Specialists like Christine Lahey work with patients to help them feel as comfortable as possible going into a procedure.

“The family is a key component of the patient experience.” – Enrico Verrelli

“When it comes to pediatrics, the unknown can often lead to feelings of fear,” says Christine. “Clarifying misconceptions and providing information are an important part of what I do. I also develop and facilitate individualized coping plans, engage in therapeutic play and provide emotional support as needed.”

Care for the whole family

The family as a whole requires support during the care of a pediatric patient, and the philosophy of family-centred care guides the work of the pediatric sedation team every day.

“The family is a key component of the patient experience,” says Enrico Verrelli, a Registered Nurse at the Hospital. “We work closely with families and explain the progress of patient care so everyone knows what to expect. Open communication at all stages of care is very important.”

Making a difference

Dr. Parrish enjoys the interprofessional collaboration that allows him to work with people like Christine and Enrico to deliver the best possible care.

“It’s very rewarding to relieve the anxieties of patients and families by letting them know that they will receive the best care possible,” says Dr. Parrish. “Being able to make a difference in a child’s life is the most gratifying thing in the world.”