NEEDLES and hospitals can be a scary experience for young patients but a new film could go a long way to easing those fears.
Staff at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton have created a DVD explaining what happens when a child needs to come in to have a blood test.
The short film, made in collaboration with the children’s charity Rockinghorse, is divided into sections for parents and children of different ages.
In one section, a teddy bear is used by staff to help explain to very young children what is happening, while in another, older patients talk about how they have dealt with having to have a test done.
Staff are hoping the video will eventually be used by the NHS to help youngsters across the country prepare for blood tests.
Hospital play specialist Kate Woodhams is one of the film makers.
She said: “We know that having a blood test can be a nerve wracking experience for many children and young people.
“We wanted to make a short film that would help lessen this anxiety.
“In the film some of our patients talk about their own experiences and share ideas about what they’ve found helpful.
“The DVD shows a ten-year-old having his blood test and this lets children know what to expect when they come to hospital.
“We have also asked some of our experienced parents to share their advice and we hope that this will help other parents think about how to prepare themselves and their child.
“We are very grateful for all the children, young people and parents who helped us make this DVD.”
The film will be used throughout the hospital, in the outpatients department and in staff training.
Staff also hope to design a work book for children that can be used in conjunction with the film.
A special premiere of the film was organised by Rockinghorse, the hospital’s official fundraising arm, at Cineworld in Brighton.
The video will also be added to the hospital’s website at www.theroy- alalex.co.uk