Preparing for a Procedure
So your patient is going to have an endoscopy and/or colonoscopy… How do you prepare a child for that? To start, it is helpful to let them know why they are having the procedure done. Most often, these procedures are done to collect more information and run tests to determine the cause of a child’s illness/discomfort. Letting the child know that we will get answers from these tests is important. The scope allows the doctor to take pictures of their digestive system and also collect tissue samples to be analyzed in a lab. With these answers the doctor can create a treatment plan to address the problem so they will feel better.
The next question to answer is “how?” Simplifying the truth about what happens during a scope is important for the child to know. The clean out procedure can be lengthy and unpleasant. Keeping a sense of humor and allowing potty humor during this process can help things “move along” – so to speak. Some children become anxious about the preparation for a colonoscopy, so normalizing the process can help. “They are just getting all the poop out so the doctor can get good pictures.” Special distractions like movies or video games can create a distraction from the process as well.
Once at the hospital, our staff provides wonderful care and explanations to children so they know what to expect. Letting them know that they will be asleep and not feel anything is helpful to calm fears. It is also helpful for them to have an idea of how small the camera on the scope is. I had one youngster who though the pictures would be taken with a camera like the one his father uses. That caused much concern until he realized a camera can be very small. Often the doctor will allow the child to see the pictures from their scopes if they ask.
Some simple and brief explanations before these procedures can help a child get through these important tests. If you have concerns about how your patients are managing their anxiety prior to medical testing feel free to call our offices. We are happy to help!