Children in hospital experience a number of painful procedures including infusion and phlebotomy, which they find frightening and anxiety provoking. Commonly, topical anaesthetic creams are used to numb the site of injection, but these can be expensive and effectively prolong the procedure.
When a Child Health service introduced a new pain numbing technology called CoolSense in one patient care unit, the feedback from children and their parents was overwhelmingly positive: more effective numbing of the injection site and reduced waiting times. In addition to this, CoolSense represented a substantial financial saving for the organisation.
Preparations were duly made to introduce CoolSense across the department. Supplies were ordered and education planned. However, following its introduction, there followed reports of skin injury and device malfunction which lead to the partial withdrawal of CoolSense. Two areas continued to use CoolSense and log every application. No skin injury occurred during the period of logging each application.
A number of mitigating factors were found to have contributed to the unsuccessful launch of CoolSense including: a broken device which was not removed from circulation; unclear understanding of skin injury; staff were overwhelmed with competing information on new technologies; in one area, the Charge Nurse was absent during implementation; the rumour-mill was rife; storage issues.
In our efforts to make healthcare faster, safer and more accurate we are adopting new technologies at the rate of knots. Successful implementation of even the best technologies requires more than passion. Anticipatory planning, the use of simulation, mindfulness of staff reactions to ‘new stuff’, monitoring during the bedding in phase and proper reporting are activities we need to include when introducing technology.
Key words: paediatric nursing, child health, procedural pain, technology