University of Maryland Children's Hospital Uses Grant to Put Pediatric Patients at Ease During Radiology Exams

For immediate release: August 07, 2015

Having an MRI can be a challenging experience for anyone, but children are often so anxious they need to be sedated. Sedation comes with its own set of risks and takes additional time.

To ease children’s fears, pediatric radiologists Narendra Shet, MD, and Jane Kim, MD, teamed up with Child Life specialists Shannon Joslin, MS, CCLS, CEIM, and Molly Baron, BS, CCLS, to design a training program for radiology technologists to help them interact with children undergoing medical imaging. Radiology technologists work with both adult and pediatric patients, and typically do not receive specialized pediatric training.

The team developed several tools to help ease patients’ fears both before and during the exam including a series of prep books that explain what each type of imaging exam entails using kid-friendly language that parents can review with their children at home and in the waiting room. Children who are more prepared and have a better understanding of what is to happen ahead of time find it easier to comply with and complete the exam. The team also assembled “distraction kits” filled with gadgets and toys to help kids feel more comfortable and allow the radiology technologists to connect with their patients in a simple and fun way. With these tools in hand, the goal is both to create a comfortable environment for pediatric patients while obtaining the best image quality, and in some cases, eliminating the need for sedation.

Not only has the training program increased awareness among the radiology technologists and provided them with useful training, it has positively impacted the overall hospital experience for these pediatric patients, says Dr. Kim.

Implementing the training program would not have been possible without grant funding from the Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) and Toshiba. In 2014, the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital was one of seven grant recipients of the Putting Patients First grant program which seeks to improve patient care and safety in diagnostic imaging.

Check out this video to see Dr. Shet, Dr. Kim, Molly Baron and Advanced Imaging Manager Katherine Mohr, MA, BS, RT (R) (CT), CRA, discuss the training program: