Beyond the drugs: nonpharmacologic strategies to optimize procedural care in children

Piet L. Leroy*, Luciane R. Costa, Dimitris Emmanouil, Alice van Beukering, Linda S. Franck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose of review Painful and/or stressful medical procedures mean a substantial burden for sick children. There is good evidence that procedural comfort can be optimized by a comprehensive comfort-directed policy containing the triad of nonpharmacological strategies (NPS) in all cases, timely or preventive procedural analgesia if pain is an issue, and procedural sedation. Recent findings Based both on well-established theoretical frameworks as well as an increasing body of scientific evidence NPS need to be regarded an inextricable part of procedural comfort care. Procedural comfort care must always start with a child-friendly, nonthreatening environment in which well-being, confidence, and self-efficacy are optimized and maintained. This requires a reconsideration of the medical spaces where we provide care, reduction of sensory stimulation, normalized professional behavior, optimal logistics, and coordination and comfort-directed and age-appropriate verbal and nonverbal expression by professionals. Next, age-appropriate distraction techniques and/or hypnosis should be readily available. NPS are useful for all types of medical and dental procedures and should always precede and accompany procedural sedation. NPS should be embedded into a family-centered, care-directed policy as it has been shown that family-centered care can lead to safer, more personalized, and effective care, improved healthcare experiences and patient outcomes, and more responsive organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S1-S13
JournalCurrent Opinion in Anesthesiology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • nonpharmacological strategies
  • procedural comfort
  • family-centered care procedure-related distress
  • age-appropriate communication

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