procedure and have longer hospital stays.
As she tells anesthesiology residents, “How they go to sleep is
often how they wake up.”
Chorney’s own research, published in Anesthesiology, has
shown that reducing children’s preoperative stress — by giving
them a practice run with an anesthesia mask and educating
them about the procedure, for example — can lessen the
amount of pain medication they need after surgery and can
reduce cases of “emergence delirium,” in which a child comes
out of anesthesia thrashing, crying or needing restraint.
To improve children’s experiences, Chorney and other
psychologists have developed research-tested strategies
to reduce children’s stress and anxiety about medical
procedures, including going under anesthesia and having
surgery, as well as some uncomfortable and even highly
painful tasks, such as having blood drawn, using a catheter,
wearing sensors for an electroencephalogram and being
treated for severe burns.
“Children’s experiences with early medical procedures can
really shape their medical experiences for life,” Chorney says.