Article Text

Download PDFPDF
109 Deconstructing Fear
  1. Harriet Carver1,
  2. Mike Stylianou1,
  3. Sarah Regan1,
  4. Marc Cohen2,
  5. Lucy Hepburn1
  1. 1Great Ormond Street Hospital
  2. 2GOSH


Over 18, 500 children and young people (CYP) come to Great Ormond Street for surgery each year, 50% of these will develop procedural anxiety prior to surgery, and this may be fleeting and transient or long lasting.

‘Deconstructing Fear’ is intended to minimize or mitigate children’s fears and anxieties. With the intention of improving therapeutic outcome and enhance their experience of healthcare.

Procedural anxiety has been shown to significantly increase: the need for analgesic drugs, recovery time, nausea and vomiting, making patient experience less than optimal.

The operating room is prepared to be inviting, promote curiosity and be non-threatening and authentic. Equipment is used as part of play, allowing children to understand why it is used and how it works.

The children we support represent the full spectrum of CYP in the healthcare system along with their complex needs. We permit full and unrestricted access to the theatre environment, theatre and anesthetic room. This requires a dedicated, knowledgeable, sensitive and committed team of multidisciplinary colleagues ranging from Surgeons and Anesthetist’s to health care assistant.

To date we have had many satisfying and rewarding successes ranging from transplant to minor surgery. Positive feedback from parents and patients indicates they felt better equipped to proceed with surgery and we are now making ‘Deconstructing Fear’ available to all patients that wish to attend.

The cost of preparing an operating theatre for surgery is not insignificant, delays and cancellations are costly. ‘Deconstructing Fear’ reduces cost, optimizes patient experience and provides a rich and satisfying experience for staff.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.