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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005 Nov;21(11):712-8.

Child life intervention during angiocatheter insertion in the pediatric emergency department.

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Division of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.



Current literature is deficient regarding the scope of procedures for which certified child life specialist (CCLS) services are effective in the pediatric emergency department. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of CCLS intervention during routine peripheral venous angiocatheter insertion on child procedure-related distress.


Eligible children were aged 2 to 16 years. Subjects were randomly assigned to CCLS intervention or standard care. The Observation Scale of Behavior Distress-revised (OSBD-r) [J Pediatr Psychol 12 (1987) 543] was recorded during the procedure. Secondary outcomes included child and parent State Trait Anxiety Inventories [Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (1973) and Manual for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (1973)] and an adapted parent customer satisfaction survey [Eval Program Plann 5 (1982) 233; Eval Program Plann 6 (1983) 299; and J Paediatr Child Health 31 (1995) 435]. Explanatory and intention-to-treat analyses were performed.


One hundred forty-nine children completed the study. Although there was no statistical difference in mean total OSBD-r in the intention-to-treat analysis, the mean difference of 0.61 OSBD units (95% confidence interval, 0.04-1.19) in the anticipation phase in the 4- to 7-year age group was statistically significant. When the patients with only 1 insertion attempt were analyzed (n = 121), the total OSBD-r, anticipation, and preparation phase differences were statistically significant in the intention-to-treat analysis. In the explanatory analysis (n = 138), a mean significant difference in total OSBD-r score of 1.80 (95% confidence interval, 0.19-3.42) was found. There were no significant differences in child or parent anxiety or customer satisfaction between groups.


CCLS intervention may reduce the behavioral stress associated with angiocatheter insertion, especially in children aged 4 to 7 years. These data further support the role of the CCLS as a patient and family advocate during routine procedures.

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