The iPad helps ease children's fears, anxiety and pain during emergency room experiences, a new program at the New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital has found.

In an effort to improve children's emergency room experiences, the hospital has launched the Children's Comfort Program (CCP) utilizing pioneering techniques such as iPads to entertain, distract, and comfort its youngest patients.

The iPad Plays a Big Role in the Hospital

The iPad, the latest innovative computing device by Apple Inc., offers a multitude of interactive options for all ages and levels. Through gaming, music, videos, movies and books, the tablet has demonstrated great ability to reduce tensions and calm children during emergency hospital assessments and medical procedures.

Anxiety among children about impending procedures can make treatment difficult, prolong pain, and aggravate or complicate original medical conditions. In addition to the pain they are already feeling, fear of the injury, the hospital and the medical staff affects children's hospital outcomes.

Nurses have reported greater ability to assess pain and resolve crises when the patients are given iPads. Feedback from patients and their parents has also been positive. Whether the emergency involves broken bones, asthma attacks or other conditions, the gadget has proven to be remarkably successful.

iPads Have a Calming Effect

The implementation of the device has also reduced the need for physical restraints, which only contribute to children's anxiety and fears. In some cases, it has eliminated the need for more invasive interventions as well.

Children arriving to the hospital with asthma attacks especially benefit from techniques that help calm them as severe asthma can be exacerbated by anxiety. The iPads enable nurses and doctors to relax the asthma patient and administer treatment much faster and more effectively. Focusing and playing on the iPads have helped relieve tensions and reduce the need for procedures such as tracheal intubation and ventilation.

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, for example, is sometimes used to treat asthma, but requires the patient to wear a mask over the nose and mouth while a motor gently blows air in. Nurses have found that children distracted by the iPads are much more receptive to such treatments.

Children Enjoy the Hospital Much More Thanks to the Apple iPad

The program's goal is to reduce or eliminate children's pain and anxiety through improved pain management and other methods, including the introduction of iPads. The iPad's attractiveness to children lies in its ability to provide a nearly-endless supply of books, DVDs, and games in a single package. Each child can utilize it according to his or her personal interests and tastes, making a potentially terrifying experience at least a little more tolerable.

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Maisha M. Syeda, MSc.
Sigal Sharf


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