Thanks to a grant from Kosair Charities, Pikeville Medical Center’s Mettu Children’s Hospital now offers a variety of distraction therapies to encourage patient cooperation, resulting in successful interaction and treatment. Many children’s experiences in a medical setting are new and unfamiliar. The concept of distraction therapy revolves around the utilization of engaging and immersive techniques to divert the patient’s attention from medical procedures or painful treatments and, as a result, reduce anxiety, fear and the perception of pain.

A positive distraction is a significant environmental feature that introduces positive feelings by diverting attention from stress or anxious thoughts. Existing research has deemed the application of positive distractions in pediatric environments significant. Adding distraction therapy can alleviate pain and anxiety during these stressful events.

With the funding, PMC purchased several gaming carts and tablets designed to move from room to room. “Mettu Children’s Hospital offers an effective way to minimize a child’s anxiety about being in the hospital.” Thanks to Kosair Charities, this wide array of tools and techniques calms fears, soothes anxiety, and encourages children to express their feelings during a hospital stay to distract them,” explained PMC Vice President of the Board of Directors and CEO Donovan Blackburn.

Kosair Charities has been rising to meet urgent needs across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Its goal is to help children reach their full potential and offer the pivotal support they need to overcome their obstacles. Kosair Charities is the largest charity for children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, advancing healthcare, research, education, social services, and child advocacy.

Many experiences a child encounters in a medical setting are new and unfamiliar. Some children find hospital or clinic visits challenging, uncomfortable, stressful or frightening. When utilizing distraction therapy techniques, most procedures can be tolerated, reducing the time and staff members needed to complete a procedure. Distraction Therapy is used as a coping mechanism or a comforting technique, resulting in a win-win situation for children, families and healthcare professionals.

Existing research has deemed the application of distraction therapy in pediatrics can be significant and give the child a sense of control while decreasing pharmacological methods. Age-appropriate distraction therapy techniques provide alternate avenues to empower children and soothe anxiety during these times. This innovative approach, designed specifically for pediatric patients, has emerged as a motivational force altering the healthcare experience for children to endure difficult treatments or painful medical procedures during hospitalization.

Mettu Children’s Hospital at PMC opened in December of 2021 and distraction therapy has become a successful, positive “game changer” for our patients in reducing pain and stress levels during times when children need it the most.