By Sara J. Riskey B.S., ARRT R.T. (R), ARDMS, Radiology Manager, Unity Medical Center
Imaging the pediatric patient in the rural setting has its challenges and setbacks. Educating and interacting with the guardian and pediatric patient in a brief moment can be difficult. Errors that can require repeat imaging or produce suboptimal imaging can be caused by this.
With the grant monies from the AHRA Education Foundation, I was able to establish a protocol to allow for a safe and secure imaging environment for pediatric patients, and to successfully educate/explain the procedure to their guardians. I also purchased equipment such as a Pigg-O-Stat and projectors that help create a safe and secure environment.
The Pigg-O-Stat also allowed for infection control during the COVID 19 pandemic. It allowed the technologist to keep a safe distance while taking the x-rays, and prevented unnecessary COVID 19 exposure to staff by providing a second set of hands. The equipment is and was able to be completely wiped down after each patient. Using standard precautions and having the ability to completely clean the equipment allowed a clean environment for every patient, every time.
The Pigg-O-Stat continues to provide a safe secure way to hold the pediatric patient without unnecessary radiation exposure to the technologist or guardian. It also prevents unnecessary radiation exposure to the patient from repeat imaging due to improper positioning caused by technologist or guardian holding.
The projector allows the technologist a safe way to distract the pediatric patient by placing dancing images across the walls along with calming music playing in the background. This reduces stress and anxiety for both the pediatric patient and the technologist.
A PowerPoint presentation was used to educate the technologists on the use of the Pigg-O-Stat and set up the x-ray room. I put a policy in place that requires the technologist to use the Pigg-O-Stat whenever possible. The Radiology Department worked together to determine how to communicate with the patients and the guardian and how best to use the tools that are available.
The technologist(s) used brochures to educate and inform the guardian about the Pigg-O-Stat and how it is used. Within the brochure, there are pictures with large bold text to help prevent confusion. The brochure also explained why a Pigg-O-Stat is used, why it is a useful tool, and why it is preferred over holding the patient.
We found that by allowing more time to educate and explain the procedure from start to finish we can achieve this goal. Having the proper equipment creates a safe controlled environment and allows the technologist to complete the x-rays without unnecessary radiation exposure to the pediatric patient, guardians, and technologists. This in turn appeared to reduce stress and anxiety for the guardian and pediatric patient and allowed for optimal imaging by preventing repeat imaging.
By using a Pigg-O-Stat it has and continues to allow the technologist to use the ALARA principle and to remember to image gently with every pediatric patient, every time.
Sarah Riskey B.S., ARRT R.T. (R), ARDMS, is the Radiology Manager at Unity Medical Center can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a past recipient of AHRA and Canon’s Putting Patients First grant, and this article details how she utilized those funds. Apply for 2022 funds until Nov 7, 2022
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