British Columbia

'Distracting kits' reduce anxiety around immunization, says nurse who created them

Making immunizations a less anxious time for children could be as easy as distracting kids with tactile and shiny objects.

Kelowna nurse says the distraction tools also make process more efficient for nurses

The boxes include stress balls, fidget spinners, sparkle wands and sensory brushes. (CBC Kelowna/Twitter)

Making immunizations less anxious for children could be as easy as distracting kids with tactile and shiny objects.

Kelowna General Hospital nurse and recent University of British Columbia Okanagan Nursing graduate Shannon Perger found a way to entertain kids during their immunizations with 'distraction kits.' She created and distributed them to Grade 6 students when she was working in public health during her fourth year of the nursing program.   

She filled the boxes with items designed to make kids feel less nervous while they get their shots and she says it worked.

"Every single kid except for one used it on the very first day we brought it," she says.

Perger says student feedback was overwhelmingly positive and now the kits are being used by the downtown Kelowna public health office.

Recent UBC Okanagan Nursing graduate Shannon Perger came up with a way to make vaccinations faster and provoke less anxiety. (CBC Kelowna/Twitter)

The items in the box are geared for kids between the ages of  11 to 12 years old and include stress balls, fidget spinners, sparkle wands and sensory brushes to rub the lower part of the arm that's getting vaccinated.

"I have a 13-year-old goddaughter and I have seen her grow up over the years and honestly watching her play with what she liked over the years did help me decide what went in the box," she says.

Reduces time for nurses

Perger says the boxes also streamlined the immunization process.

They reduced the amount of time that the nurses were at the school because there were fewer questions and less need for de-escalating anxiety.

Perger says she got positive feedback when she presented the kits to several public health nurses and she hopes more public health offices will use them. 

"Although Grade 6 was my targeted audience for this project. This is really quite useful for anyone," says Perger.

With Files from Daybreak South

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