Swati Goel, Sahar Mihandoust, Anjali Joseph, Jonathan Markowitz, Alec Gonzales, Matthew Browning

Design of Pediatric Outpatient Procedure Environments: A Pilot Study to Understand the Perceptions of Patients and Their Parents

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Objective: To understand parent and child perception of spaces experienced during outpatient procedures and to measure their anxiety in these spaces. Background: Same-day procedures are becoming prevalent among children in the United States. While studies conducted in different types of healthcare settings show that the physical environment influences healthcare experiences of patients, there is a lack of research on patient and family perceptions of the physical environment of the outpatient centers where such procedures are conducted. Methods: This study used ecological momentary assessment to collect patient experience and anxiety data at different points during the patient’s journey through an ambulatory surgical center where pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) procedures were performed. Objective and subjective measures of anxiety were collected. A Qualtrics survey asked participants’ perceptions about four spaces—waiting, preprocedure, procedure, and recovery. Results: Child participants reported liking murals, double chairs, patient beds, wall color, and access to a television. They disliked medical equipment and lack of child-friendly furniture. Most parents liked the murals, access to a television, and nature photos, while disliking the lack of privacy, lack of toys in waiting areas, and lack of child-friendly furniture. On average, both children and parents experienced the highest anxiety levels before and during the procedure and the lowest during recovery. Between the four spaces, no significant differences were observed in the heart rate variability and skin conductance responses for both groups. Conclusions: Despite the outpatient nature of the procedures, participants experienced anxiety before the GI procedure. Comfortable design features that provide distractions are preferred by children and their parents.

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