JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An MRI can be a scary experience for a little one. But Wolfson Children’s Hospital has a new way of putting children’s and parents’ minds at ease.
It's called "MR-I am Ready!" and it allows for the patient to meet with a children's life specialist sometime before the MRI. That specialist then shows the patient everything they need to know about the procedure. This way they can get the MRI without sedation.
The change has made a huge difference for 5 year old Jason Parks, who had his first MRI since having surgery three years ago after being a diagnosed with chiari malformation, a condition which impacts the brain.
Susan Parks remembered how hard it was seeing her son go through sedation.
"He was just struggling and calling my name through the mask. And it was just so painful as a parent and you just want to take it away," she said.
Knowing how scary it was for her son, sedation was something she wanted to avoid with his follow up MRI. Through the ‘MR- I am Ready!’ program at Wolfson Children's Hospital, that's a possibility.
Leading up to the procedure, Jason met with child life specialist Holly Allsop who walked him through what to expect during an MRI.
Jason learned exactly what he would hear when the scans are taken. He also practiced holding still in a space similar to the machine. It helped knowing that this allows his mom to be right by his side during the real thing.
"The parents aren't able to stay in the MRI with the patient under anesthesia. When they're awake, they can be with them the whole time. They can also eat and drink as normal,” said Allsopp.
Jason gained the confidence he needed when he received his MRI.
In all, the procedure took about 20 minutes. Like his surgery three years ago, the procedure went without a hitch.
"It gives the parents a sense of relief and calm," said Susan Parks.
The ‘MR-I am Ready!’ program is for kids ages 3 and older. It doesn't cost anything to parents.
More information on the program is available on the hospital's website.