Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Music Helps Distract Kids from Painful Emerg Dept Procedure: Study

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Music Helps Distract Kids from Painful Emerg Dept Procedure: Study

Article excerpt

Music in Emerg Dept. calms kids: Study


TORONTO - It appears music can be medicinal.

A new Canadian study suggests that music can help distract children who are about to undergo painful procedures in a hospital emergency room setting.

The work found that children experienced less distress and pain while having an intravenous line inserted if music was playing in the treatment room. And health-care providers reported they found it easier to set up the IV line when their young charges were distracted by tunes.

"I would hope that people continue to use and investigate music as one means of helping children handle painful and distressing procedures," said lead author Lisa Hartling, who is director of the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence at the University of Alberta.

The work was published Monday by the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

There have been a number of studies that have looked at whether music can play a role in reducing the pain and anxiety children experience when they have to undergo medical procedures.

In fact, Hartling and her group conducted a systematic review -- gathering evidence from 19 such studies to look for trends. They concluded that more research needs to be done to explore music's potential in different clinical settings and with different types of medical procedures.

In this study, they looked specifically at children who were having an intravenous line set up in the emergency room. A total of 42 children between the ages of three and 11 were enrolled in the trial, with half undergoing the procedure without music and half hearing music while the IV line was being inserted.

The children who listened to music had no hand in selecting the tunes they heard. The four songs used were selected by a music therapist, who deliberately chose a mix of music that included selections that might have been unfamiliar to the children.

The idea, said Hartling, is grounded in the principles of distraction.

"What we're trying to do with these kids is distract them away from what's causing them pain or distress. So her feeling was that these songs that may not necessarily be familiar to them may be more distracting, actually, than a familiar song," Hartling said in an interview. …

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