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Parental Presence

All parents dread hearing the word “SURGERY” when it comes to their own child. A child undergoing surgery is a time of high anxiety for both parent and child. The induction of anesthesia is another time of high anxiety for children.

A multidisciplinary team, composed of Child Life Specialist, anesthesiologist, surgery staff, and Avera Children’s Hospital staff was formed to develop a more family-centered process and environment for children called Parental Presence for Induction (PPI), a unique surgical program at Avera Children’s Hospital.

Started for children who were undergoing a procedure and/or surgery, Parental Presence for Induction is a care initiative to provide more of a family-centered care atmosphere and decrease separation anxiety. We have over 40 physicians at Avera McKennan who provide surgery for our pediatric patients. An increased number of families are requesting this service. Children are more likely to be calm if parents are informed and involved, and therefore calm and supportive.

Patients and parents learn from the Child Life Specialist what they will see and hear during the induction process. Our Child Life Specialist prepares children scheduled for surgery and accompanies most of them to the operating room. The parent’s role is to accompany their child into the OR and remain in the operating room during induction. We encourage the parent to talk to and comfort the child as he or she would at home, doing things such as singing or counting.

A Child Life Specialist is a trained professional who works with patients and families to help reduce the stress and anxiety that can be associated with the health care experience. A Child Life Specialist teaches children about illness, treatments and surgeries. They support children during stressful experiences, help children express feelings about illness/treatment, and work to meet the developmental, psychological, educational, and emotional needs of patients.

Parental Presence

Watch a video highlighting the Parental Presence Program.

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