AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Children with Brain Tumors Undergoing Radiation Therapy Helped by Play-based Preparation

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Coping with the stress and anxiety of radiation therapy can be very difficult for a child. Lying still for a long period of time can be difficult resulting in sedation being imperative to avoid damaging their developing brains when administering the radiation. With this sedation comes risks, including respiratory ailments and cognitive function deficits. To reduce these and the medical costs of sedation, a study from the Child Life Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital looked to demonstrate the effectiveness of play-based procedural preparation. “The results demonstrate the value of having child life specialists as part of the health care team,” said lead author Shawna Grissom, director of Child Life at St. Jude. “The interventions of certified child life specialists help prepare the children for what’s going to happen during their radiation treatments. Sedation is often used to keep the child still during the treatments, but we can work with the children on coping skills during practice sessions, so maybe they won’t need sedation every time or not at all once they understand what’s happening and expected of them.” To read more, click here.

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