Health Team

WakeMed program helps children deal with upcoming surgery

A special program at WakeMed is designed to ease anxiety children experience when preparing for surgery.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A special program at WakeMed is designed to ease anxiety that almost all children experience when preparing for surgery.

Jennifer Kreimer, a WakeMed child life specialist, starts by giving children and parents a friendly pre-surgery tour.

“Our state of relaxation going into a health-care experience will impact the way we heal,” Kreimer said.

After several cases of strep throat, Kevin Privette, 9, had his tonsils removed at WakeMed. He went through the preparation program first.

Crystal Privette, Kevin’s mother, said her child wasn’t afraid; he just wasn’t sure what to expect.

Kreimer said that with tonsillectomies, a child's questions reveal their fears. Some questions include where the incisions will be made.

The kid-tailored environment also has a calming affect.

“The walls being painted and the rooms the way they are – I think it helps the kids out, makes it easier,” said Bobby Privette, Kevin’s father.

The kid’s section also has a play area. Questions are also answered about the procedure. Children are also shown the operating room where the surgery will happen.

As she talks to the child, Kreimer said she is also hoping to calm the parents, “because if their anxiety decreases, then the child's will.”

The kid's surgery tour is typically given the day of the procedure, but parents can request a visit days before.


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