Health app helps children relax before surgery

Health app helps children relax before surgery

Health app helps children relax before surgery

Source: The Guardian

The Relax anaesthetics app – jointly designed by consultant anaesthetist Peter Brooks and his colleague Corina Lee from Chelsea and Westminster hospital – has won the pair an NHS England Innovation Acorn Challenge award, for its instant effectiveness in relaxing and distracting children being anaesthetised, not to mention the significant reduction in anaesthetic drugs costs.

Clinically it makes sense. A father himself, Brooks came up with the idea of the app because of his misgivings about the ethics of anaesthetising a distressed child, and the number of operations that were being cancelled as a result of last-minute panic. Having seen the instant appeal of the iPad with his own children, he decided to bring his own into the theatre.

The effect was dramatic, he explains: “We used to spend more than 20 minutes (sometimes over an hour) trying to get a child patient in a state where we could put them to sleep. Now with the help of tablet technology we can sometimes do it in seconds. This has a big and cumulative effect on theatre time.”

Financially, Relax also makes sense. Every year, the hospital performs 5,189 operations on children. Anaesthetising children intravenously is the preferred choice – at £5 for every child. The alternative – gas inhalation – costs £13 for every child. Currently the hospital is only able to use the intravenous method on 57% of children, such is the stress and anxiety it causes them.

The app is changing all that. Brooks and his team are using it as a matter of course. It is being tested in the hospital and there are plans to roll it out to other hospital trusts throughout the UK.

The project has been funded by the hospital’s arts, research and innovation charity CW+, and Chelsea and Westminster hospital as part of its Enterprising Health Partnership, which supports ideas from staff that improve patient care, while generating revenue or saving costs.

This new tablet app provides art, music and games to help calm children aged two to 16 at the touch of a button, using profiling information to suggest the best content for each child.

 

Source: The Guardian

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