Children who are affected with childhood liver disease, are often faced with having regular blood tests. However, this can often be daunting no matter how many times they go through it. So, our community have shared their top tips.
*Don’t forget that everyone is different and what works well for one child may not work with the other*
Many of you said that distracting your child through the blood taking process was key to helping them. Having the TV on in the background or their favourite song playing can keep their attention or play therapists can help with distraction techniques.
Having a session with a play therapist outside of the blood tests can also help with the language the doctor/nurse uses, keeping your child clued up on what’s going on.
Practising at home could also help- put a play kit together and let them practise the usual steps on a teddy bear, parent or sibling, pretending to wipe down the area and placing a plaster on.
A dividing issue among parents/carers is the numbing cream and cold spray, with some of you saying it worked whilst others preferring to go without. It’s worth experimenting to see if it works for you and your child. For some it lessons the pain, whilst others felt little difference, some thought it added negatively to the whole experience.
Children react well to praise. So, telling them how well they are doing sitting still certainly has a good reaction. Many parents found that certificates of bravery and small presents to say well done can make the process less daunting next time round, as the child knows they have something to look forward to after it is over.
Encourage children to take control, to dictate what they want and what they won’t accept. Giving them the opportunity to choose which toy to take with them, which arm will be used, whether they want the numbing cream and most importantly, if they want to stop at any time then they can say so.
Try not to hide the fact they are going for a blood tests that day, so that its not a nasty surprise when they get there! Children often pick up on lies, so telling them it wont hurt will soon be overturned when the needle goes in. Instead, you could tell them they will feel a sharp scratch, but it won’t hurt for long and the process will be over before they know it!
Explaining what will happen takes much of the fear away, which is where practising at home can again be helpful, so they know all the steps.
Once again, we’d like to state that everyone is different and what works for one child may not work for the other. Figuring out what works for your child can lead to that one good experience, which can pave the way for more. If you have any more tips for dealing with a fear of needles and would like to share them with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and help other young people and families affected by childhood liver disease.