New ‘Relax and View’ system puts children at ease in scanner

Kelly Thornham News

Children having an MRI scan at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) are being helped to relax thanks to a new video screen they can watch while they’re in the scanner.

The specialist ‘Relax and View’ machine, which plays films and videos while children and young people are having scans, has been donated to BRI’s Radiology department by Bradford Hospitals’ Charity as part of its Rays a Smile fundraising appeal.

The appeal, launched earlier this year, aims to raise £250,000 to make radiology services at the hospital more child-friendly.

Almost all patients treated in hospital, either as an inpatient or outpatient, are referred for imaging. Around 55 children are imaged every single day in Bradford’s hospitals.

It is believed that a brighter, more child-friendly environment will benefit all patients, including some adults who find imaging stressful. It will also speed up scan times because people will be less anxious and avoid sedation, thus providing better quality images.

Having a MRI scan is claustrophobic, noisy and takes at least 30 minutes, so the Relax and View video relaxation system will help to relieve the stress and boredom that many patients – both young and old – can experience. It means children who are most scared of scans may not need sedation or a general anaesthetic, with the increased risks they bring.

It also benefits radiology staff as relaxed patients mean better imaging, better diagnosis and a nicer experience for everyone. Anxiety can cause delays in scanning, which can potentially delay treatment.

Consultant Paediatric Radiologist, Dr LeeAnne Elliott said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have this wonderful new piece of kit, kindly donated by the Charity, which will really help patients relax more during scans as they’ve now got something to watch while they listen through headphones.

“It plays DVDs, which are easily available, and we’ve already got a great stock of Disney and other children’s movies which staff have given us. Children will be able to choose what they want to watch – and we think some David Attenborough DVDs will go down well with older patients!

“It’s a very specialist system designed specifically to be used in the MRI environment, which means everything has to be non-ferrous (not made of iron and not magnetic), and it has a series of mirrors so patients can see the screen no matter how they are positioned.”

Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, Hayley Collis, added: “Most people will have experience of having an x-ray, which is daunting enough, but in fact most adults, let alone children, are very anxious when they have an MRI or CT scan. We want to provide the best for Bradford’s children when they come into hospital, so we’re thrilled to donate the Relax and View system through Rays a Smile, which we know we will be very well used.”

In addition to this latest equipment, the Rays a Smile appeal has already:

  • created designated children’s waiting areas at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, which are bright, warm and welcoming and kitted out with distraction toys,
  • created a ‘snuggle room’ for parents to soothe babies to sleep before scans, to avoid the need for general anaesthetic.

And it still plans to:

  • revamp some rooms used for X-ray, ultrasound, CT scans and MRI scans with colourful décor to distract children,
  • purchase sound systems to play music for children while they are scanned.

To find out more about Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and how you can support your local hospitals, visit www.bradfordhospitalscharity.org. Alternatively, contact Hayley Collis or Elaine Drake on 01274 274809 or email charity@bthft.nhs.uk

The Relax and View system in use