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Paediatr Anaesth. 2015 Jan;25(1):27-35. doi: 10.1111/pan.12546. Epub 2014 Sep 30.

Treating perioperative anxiety and pain in children: a tailored and innovative approach.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA; UCI Center on Stress & Health, School of Medicine, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA.


Millions of children undergo outpatient surgery in the United States each year; the overwhelming majority will experience significant perioperative anxiety and pain. Behavioral preparation programs focused on skills acquisition and modeling, considered essential for effective preparation, are no longer offered to most children and families in the outpatient surgery setting. Moreover, what little preparation does occur is typically generic in nature, rather than tailored to unique characteristics of the child and family. Untreated anxiety and pain have significant implications for children's short- and long-term recovery and future interactions in the medical environment. The rapid growth of the World Wide Web and increasing access to Internet by families across the country provide an opportunity to develop tailored, Web-based behavioral preparation programs that can be accessed repeatedly at times convenient to the child and family, that include coping skills training and modeling, and that can provide unique output based upon child and parent characteristics known to impact perioperative pain and anxiety. In this review article, we present a conceptual framework for a computer-based intervention that may transform the way we manage children and parents before and after surgery.


Internet; anxiety; coping behavior; outpatient surgery; patient-centered care; pediatric psychology

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