Concluding Comments

Although many factors can affect how a child or adolescent reacts to an invasive medical intervention, it is clear that proper preparation will have important short- and long-term benefits. Despite numerous studies, it is still less clear which types of interventions are likely to be most effective in preparing a specific child. It is essential to consider the characteristics of the child (e.g., age, temperament, coping style) and the parent and the nature of the planned medical intervention when determining what type of preparation program to use. In general, most effective preparation interventions will include more than one of the techniques mentioned in this chapter.

Some parents may be hesitant to have their children participate in preparation activities or may resist efforts to provide their children with develop-mentally appropriate information. These parents should be made aware of the risks that unprepared children face, particularly their increased levels of vulnerability during medical procedures. Children who are not provided with accurate information prior to medical procedures are more likely to experience feelings of betrayal and loss of trust in both their parents and their medical providers. There are also potential long-term negative consequences for future interactions related to their medical care.

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