Attending healthcare services is one of the most common – and important – parts of our lives. It’s also as critical to prevent disease and boost physical and emotional wellbeing as it is to treat a medical condition or injury.
And, yet, for millions of Australians, it can be a stressful situation. Particularly when it comes to the pain – and perception – of needle procedures. About 20-40% of Australians report some form of needle-fear or phobia. That range increases significantly in number and severity when applied specifically to children.
While staggering, it’s not surprising. It’s bad enough managing the expectations of needles or injections – let alone the pain itself – as an adult. Many healthcare professionals have stories of ‘toughest’ people fainting at the sight of a syringe.
So it’s important to think about this experience in the eyes of a newborn or young child who cannot fully comprehend the concept of a needle being jabbed into their skin – or the resulting pain. The true stress for parents, needle-fear or not, is also often routinely overlooked in the process. Tears of distress from caregivers are as common as for the children themselves.
This is a significant challenge for the healthcare system, given the average child will have over 20 needle procedures before the age of 16. The majority of these procedures are performed before the age of 4.
Evidence shows this risks creating – and repeatedly reinforcing – negative behaviours that can carry through to adulthood and often not only lead to healthcare delays, but avoidance altogether.
That’s why it’s incredibly important that children – and their parents – have positive interactions with the healthcare system from day one. Needles are an inevitable part of healthcare well beyond the sphere of vaccinations, with an estimated 128 million procedures occurring in Australia every year pre-Covid. Since then the role of needles – and the anxiety around them – have obviously been more prominent.
This is where NeedleCalm™ comes in. Since 2016, our mission is to provide an easy solution for people struggling with needle pain, fear and phobias.