Pediatricians criticize use of TVs in hospital

  1. pediatricians criticize use of tvs in hospital
    boston globe, oct. 16, 2006
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    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

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    13 Comments

  3. by   SharonH, RN
    It's funny that these pediatricians did not suggest an alternative for the parents and these children who have to sit for hours on end in an environment in which they have no privacy and no control over. I think having age-appropriate viewing for these kids in these circumstances is not only appropriate but it can be a welcome relief for all the parties. If they think it's so horrible, why don't they entertain these children and their families for the long, boring stretches in between painful treatments and the doctors' 5-minute dash in and out of the rooms? I just do not agree with their position on this at all.
  4. by   banditrn
    Sharon, I agree. How much time does the doc spend with the patient, entertaining them? The place to cut down on TV is in the home. A sick kid needs all the distraction they can get.
  5. by   dreams2bnurseco
    Interesting article.

    I can tell you that, as a former long-term pediatric patient, TV was my savior! When my parents couldn't be around - which was rare - TV kept me distracted from pain, stress, and it kept me entertained and spirits high - which I think is very important for recovery. When I was 5, one of my surgeries had to be completed at a hospital out of state - I didn't know the docs or nurses, and the environment was strange to me...but they had a TV in the room, just like Denver's Children's Hosp. does, so it felt a bit more like "home". And when I discovered that this other hospital's policy was "No TV after 10pm", shutting them down from the nurses station, I freaked. They were taking away the one positive thing I could find as a 5 year old in a hospital.

    I do find it a bit alarming they have TVs a foot away from the youngin's, especially because it's been shown that very little kiddos' eyesight can be harmed w/ too much TV exposure (the flickering of the TV screen, which adults normally don't see because our eyesight has adjusted and matured, can harm the infant's eyes). I always remember my TV at the top of the wall, across the room, directly in front of the bed...and it was enough to keep me happy!! =)

    I don't believe that the only solace and entertainment these young patients should have is TV, however. I was fortunate to have my parents around 99% of the time, but for those kids who can't have that, hospitals have dedicated volunteers for a reason!! Most hospitals DO focus on keeping patients entertained and busy w/ crafts, books, etc....so let's not loose sight of the positive!

    DUPioneerGal
    Denver, CO
  6. by   MS._Jen_RN
    I think that the Docs just offered to put on puppet shows!
    ~Jen
  7. by   ICRN2008
    I agree that televisions should not be so close to the infants' faces. However, I do not see the physicians jumping to donate part of their hefty paychecks to hire the additional personnel needed to entertain kids in the hospital.

    I also take issue with the statement that these pediatricians know what is best for children. Ultimately, it is the parents who must make the tough decisions about how they would like to raise their child(ren).
  8. by   GregCP, RN
    Quote from MS._Jen_RN
    I think that the Docs just offered to put on puppet shows!
    ~Jen
    LOL!

    Doing away with TV's will NEVER happen, because the therapeutic effects are obvious...like was said above, it serves as an escape for children....on my floor, they have video game consoles, dvds to watch, TVs...and it distracts them from their pain, their illness, and helps them adapt to an environment that IS scary for them.
  9. by   bookwormom
    I couldn't access the whole article because of the slowness of my internet connection, but I have a contrasting opinion to the above. I worked in pediatrics for about 5 years in the 70s and 80s. There was plenty of TV then that kids watched, and even then I had concerns. (I now work with patients of all ages, including some kids, and there is a TV in every room).

    In the home, parents can moderate what kids watch, but this doesn't always happen in the hospital. What brought this home to me was walking into a multibed room one evening, many years ago, and finding a 9 year old girl with a terminal brain tumor watching a show about people being buried alive. (I turned it off.) When I had my last baby I was able to get MTV on my TV in the hospital room, and (call me conservative) was appalled. Not for kids! Some of the talks shows, and soaps also, have content which really isn't so good for all kids.

    A big enough hospital should have a Child Life department and this should be considered a priority. Kids who are hospitalized over long periods and who don't have a lot of normal interactions are missing out on important aspects of development. Even if there isn't a Child Life department, there should be age appropriate resources provided by the hospital, including toys for infants. Even in this electronic age, many children like to color, listen to audiotapes, play with puzzles, play with dolls, cut pictures out of magazines, etc. None of this requires a lot of nursing time. Older children can read books, magazines (think Dirt Wheels, etc. for teens), and do their homework (!), if the stay is long enough.

    TV is fine in moderation, but I don't think anyone would suggest that it really promotes children's developmental needs. It may quiet a child, but it does not really promote interaction with others or growth and development, (except possibly for some programs designed for that purpose). Also the TV being on may allow us to ignore the concerns and fears that children might really need to talk about.

    If you are going to use TV in a hospital, it shouldn't be on all day, and the programming should be appropriate for children.
  10. by   MissJoRN
    "observed two babies on their backs with screens playing cartoons a foot from their faces" it was picturing infants laying flat for an extended period that bothered me... until I see that they are cardiac babies! We'd all like to hold all the babies and coo to them, but not if it's going to make them crash! Still, leave the teens alone but I am not happy with this for the youngest patients!

    Does this hospital have play therapists? Do the babies have enough time with OT regardless of prognosis? (I have a cardiac kid in homecare with a lot of SPD/ SID because OT assumed (like her doctors) that she wouldn't live very long. This was a well reputed childrens center.) People who understand age appropriate stimulation for sick babies and toddlers... and know when the best thing for them is no stimulation. Babies need time to process and "file" all the input they observe. So... a period of cartoons, a period of a human- expert, staff, parent, or volunteer cooing at them or providing touch as tolerated with no other distactions, a period alone, a period of TV again. I've left babies watch the ad channel, you know the one, often channel 2, with ads for church bakesales, etc, big blocks of red, white, green, and yellow that change every couple minutes and play easy listening music. It works!

    Like I said, leave the older kids alone... video games, TV, and internet ready laptops are great gadgets for preteens and teens. I'd love to see some VSmile or LeapFrog games for preschoolers and school-age kiddies, though. Motocross racing games, etc, keep them content... but not really happy. That's just me dreaming...

    Sounds like this hospital has programming under control... an issue I've had on peds floors of adult centers. The other day the family of the preteen in the B bed fell aslepp with TV on and a crime show had come on. When I was admitting a preteen to the A bed with her mom I heard words like "semen" several times before making it to turn off the TV. Great medically correct words, very usefull, but no place in front of a 12 y/o as "entertainment"
  11. by   MissJoRN
    You know, Bookworm (fitting name), I rarely see kids in the hospital doing homework. I wish I'd even see them read a book or be read to... gasp... for fun! OK, I know I hated homework, and it seemed to cause more pain than it might distract from, but the longer term and frequently hospitalized kids- the cardiacs, renals, heme-oncs- need that kind of routine. Normalcy. I wonder if they get a hidden message "homework and school don't matter, you may not graduate anyway" I know it's never said but often on the minds of all the adults in the room.
  12. by   pierce27rn
    As a peds nurse for many years primarily at night, I wish the kids didn't watch so much TV but if the parents are there you really can't tell them how to raise their kids you can only advise and only if they are receptive to that which many aren't. Yes the playroom and volunteers are there during the day usually only during the week not the weekends, and I'm sorry to say that I have used Tv as a distraction or something for the kids to do, I can't be with one kid all the time( i would love to) I do usually have other patients and the TV helps give them something to do especially at night when they are winding down and no one is with them, I try to find something as age appropriate as possible and turn it off when they go to sleep. Yes, I know it isn't the ideal situation but you do the best you can with what your circumstances are.
  13. by   fd5151
    Quote from MS._Jen_RN
    I think that the Docs just offered to put on puppet shows!
    ~Jen
  14. by   vamedic4
    Quote from BSNDec06
    I agree that televisions should not be so close to the infants' faces. However, I do not see the physicians jumping to donate part of their hefty paychecks to hire the additional personnel needed to entertain kids in the hospital.

    [FONT="Century Gothic"]Hoo Ahh...BSNs got it right!!

    I also take issue with the statement that these pediatricians know what is best for children. Ultimately, it is the parents who must make the tough decisions about how they would like to raise their child(ren).

    :yeahthat:

    vamedic4

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