Pediatric Physiotherapy- Be a Friend more than a Therapist
Being in physiotherapy field, I get to treat different types of patients of varied age group. And today I am going to talk about the age group of tiny souls! Even amongst kids there are neonates and infants which are more common. And these are grouped into “pediatric”. Understanding a child is difficult but equally important. It involves a lot of reasoning and conditioning behind the behavior of a child. We do feel that a kid is bound to cry when you get them for a clinical check-up. But aggression, joy or crying are the emotions that occur with a reason behind it. So to make a child comfortable during a treatment, it is important to win their trust. Once you get a knack of the same, it is much easier. So let us see how can we make Pediatric Rehabilitation simpler.
1) Have an Attractive Pediatric Setup
Attractive doesn’t mean expensive. It means that it should be attractive enough to make a kid like it. Having colorful toys, games for kids to play, pictures and posters of cartoons makes it a kids-friendly place and they will like to visit your clinic. Kids are super moody, especially the age group between 2 years to 7 years. Hence their surroundings should be something which will attract them and change their mood.
2) Ice-breaking session with kids
When a child enters your clinic or department, the first thought in their mind is “I want to move out of here.” And hence it becomes a crucial step to have ice-breaking activity with them. How good are you at making them comfortable will decide whether you are good or bad person in their eyes! Take your time. Even if you take one entire session just to bond with them, it is a success. At first instance they will never like you. But eventually when you pass this step of ice breaking, it will be easier to treat them. Nowadays cartoon and kid’s channel on YouTube, television and social media makes the ice-breaking step a little easier.
3) Be a kid with them
I remember during my pediatric postings, a 4 year old little one used to feel happy coming to the physiotherapy department. But the moment she used to see me in white apron, she used to cry a lot and never allowed me to touch her. So I had to remove my apron to make her feel that I am one of her's. Even if you are elder to them, it is necessary to make them comfortable and to win their trust. You need to step in their shoes and be a kid with them. If you were a kid, what would you expect the people around you to behave like? You would want them to talk in that typical childish tone, give you the toys and explore new things with them. Exactly! Be a little person with them and things will go smoothly. Think what you would want if you were in their place and everything else will go in a flow.
4) Use Reward and Punishment method
A child’s brain learns behaviour, understanding of good and bad, rights and wrongs with reward and punishment method. For example, when they accidentally touch a hot pan they get a burn which hurts them, they realize the consequences of touching a hot object. When they win a race, they receive a prize and applause as an indication of appreciation, it makes them understand that winning or achieving something is a good thing. While treating them you need to follow the same strategy.
Appreciate them m if they perform well in their treatment. After the end of physiotherapy session, I usually give these children a star on the dorsum of their hand when the performance of their exercises is better. This makes them understand what are they supposed to do.
5) Distraction works!
Physiotherapy treatment is never a few seconds work. While giving injection, the syringe needs very few seconds to prick but while treating as a physiotherapist it takes around an hour for a pediatric patient. A natural tendency of kids is to repel us and do something that opposes the treatment to express their protest. At such times, distracting them is crucial. Handing them colourful toys with some visual and sounds effects, playing a cartoon video on phone, these are few of the things which help them to get distracted and you can treat them effectively.
6) Feel their pain
For us, end stage diseases, loss of money or loss of a close person are some painful experiences. But a child's concerns are totally different than ours. Loss of their favorite toy, getting a shouting from parents and visiting a doctor when they do not want to do, itself is a pain for them. We do feel that their concerns might be negligible compared to adults. But if we do not understand their perception towards their problems how much ever trivial they are, we will never be able to handle them successfully. Feeling their pain helps the kid to know that there is someone who feels what they go through. This is a very useful step towards building a trust.
Always remember that children needs to be handled with care and hence your lovable approach towards them will help them feel comfortable. They need to trust you and it is up to you as to how you build it. I hope these above mentioned ways help a child's psychology while treating kids. And always remember that you need to have your own unique ways to make a child feel comfortable because after all you are the one who knows more about that little soul.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Natasha Tungare