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77 Deconstructing fear – a solution
  1. Mike Stylianou,
  2. Lucy Hepburn,
  3. Harriet Carver,
  4. Sarah Regan
  1. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children


Approx 800,000 children in the UK present for have surgery every year This number is rising by approx. 11% per annum. Evidence suggests that up to 75% of these CYP’s will experience anxiety on hospitalisation. This procedural anxiety may be fleeting and transient or may have long lasting, life-long negative impact. The purpose of the ‘Deconstructing Fear’ initiative is to minimise or mitigate children’s fears and anxieties. Thereby, for many, improving therapeutic outcome and enhance their experience during hospital. ‘Deconstructing Fear’ is an experiential and effective solution. It allows children to come into contact with not only the environment but with the actual equipment they will encounter on their visit to theatre. Furthermore, their parents and families are equally as curious and seek similar information. Children are reassured to hear that we perform approx. 18,500 surgeries, we employ 4,500 staff, 1,100 volunteers and more than 30 dogs and the primary objective of everyone that works at GOSH is ‘to look after you while you are here’. In addition we are able to introduce them to the theatre environment where they learn that the temperature, humidity, air flow and how the air is cleaned is all under our control.

Procedural anxiety has been shown to significantly increase the requirement for analgesic drugs, reduce recovery time, increase nausea and vomiting and seriously affects a patient’s relationship with healthcare.

Through our innovative programme we are able to help children and their families better cope with, understand and express their anxieties. In turn this allows us to develop a deeper understanding of an individual’s needs and better prepare them, thereby minimising and substantially reducing the impact of procedural anxiety and optimising patient experience.

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