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January 12th, 2010

Afraid of the Hospital: Kids Can Outsmart Worry

It’s understandable that children and teens worry about routine medical procedures. Their anxious thoughts may include, What if something goes wrong?, I’m afraid of needles. What if I’m all alone?, What if it really hurts?

Many hospitals, in an effort to reduce anxiety in children and adolescents, have made improvements by creating kid-friendly environments. Some medical centers have identified special staff to prepare kids for their hospital visit. Before the day of the surgery or procedure, information is explained, so kids know what to expect. Answers to questions looming in the minds of young people and parents are also answered. It is reassuring, for example, that at least one parent can be with the child for much of the hospital stay. These efforts are important because research has shown that preparation and support during hospitalization speeds healing, both physically and emotionally.

There is an additional way to prepare young people and provide support prior to hospitalization They can learn empowering coping methods to make the daunting anxieties of a routine hospital visit much less scary. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kid®s, developed by experts, uses strong anti-anxiety and stress treatment techniques, to help young people take charge of worry and fear. The Tool Kit contains 20 powerful tools, such as talking back to fear with strong words, blocking What if thoughts, reducing the focus on unlikely situations, and stopping anxious thoughts from spreading. All of these skills and more, prepare and support youngsters, arming them with strategies to handle their hospitalization with more confidence.