Distraction art makes haemophilia treatments easier for children

15 April 2016

Children receiving haemophilia treatment at the Queensland Children’s Hospital will benefit from a more fun and child-friendly environment at their next visit, thanks to new distraction imagery donated by Haemophilia Foundation Queensland.

The decorative wall wrap, covering two walls and the ceiling of the hospital’s haemophilia treatment room, aims to reduce a child’s anxiety and stress before, during and after procedures.

The new look treatment room was unveiled at the hospital today, just ahead of World Haemophilia Day on Sunday (17 April).

More than 2,700 Australians live with varying degrees of severity of haemophilia, which reduces the blood’s ability to clot.

The Queensland Children’s Haemophilia Centre, based in the Queensland Children’s Hospital, currently cares for about 89 Queensland children aged from 0-18 with severe and moderate haemophilia.

As part of their lifelong treatment, many children require up to four injections per week of clotting factor concentrate to prevent life-threatening bleeds.

The treatment room is used to administer these injections, as well as to teach parents and older children how to give the injections themselves.

Director of Haemophilia, Dr Simon Brown said the regular injections were commonly a source of fear and anxiety for young patients, which could be problematic when they required them for the rest of the lives.

“Many children get anxious about medical procedures, particularly needles, because of the unavoidable pain and/or discomfort associated with them. This fear can actually increase their perception of pain and their ability to tolerate it. As a result anxiety is often more of a problem than the pain itself,” Dr Brown said.

“It is important to minimise anxiety around procedures and needle phobias to ensure children get the treatment they need as quickly and easily as possible without it being a ‘scary’ or traumatic experience for them.

“Distraction imagery is a proven effective strategy to enhance a child’s ability to cope with medical procedures, as well as their parents.

“Our staff and parents can use the artwork as a distraction tool to reduce stress before, during and following a treatment. For example, it can be used as a talking point to prompt a positive memory such as a recent holiday or to play a game such as “I spy”, which may provide a more positive experience for the child and parents,” Dr Brown said.

“Children’s Heath Queensland is committed to providing patient- and family-centred care and this artwork helps us deliver on that promise by making the haemophilia treatment rooms a fun and welcoming environment for our patients.”

The design, inspired by a ‘tree of life’ theme, was created in consultation with haemophilia staff, patients and families. It features a large tree in a rural setting, complete with birds, butterflies and assorted fruits for children to discover.

Haemophilia Foundation Queensland (HFQ) president David Stephenson said the Foundation was proud to work in partnership with Children’s Health Queensland to bring effective health outcomes for those affected by bleeding disorders.

“I applaud HFQ community members for their fundraising effort that raised the $3,762 that made this distraction imagery possible,” Mr Stephenson said.

“Bleeding disorders affect more than just the patient and I see this imagery also making a difference to the mums and dads, the brothers and sisters, as well as staff members who care for them,” he said.


Media contact: 3068 56 08 / 0403 384 442

Notes to editors

  • Haemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder that affects approximately 1 in 10,000 males globally. It is incurable and without proper treatment, can be life threatening.
  • People with haemophilia lack a protein in their blood which affects the bloods ability to clot.  This means if a child with haemophilia has an injury or operation they will bleed for longer. Regular injections of clotting factor concentrate are required to prevent life-threatening bleeds.
  • Haemophilia is an inherited condition and occurs in families, however in 1/3 of cases it appears in families with no previous history of the disorder. The genetic alteration causing haemophilia is passed down from parent to child through generations. Men with haemophilia will pass the gene on to their daughters but not their sons. Women who carry the gene can pass the gene on to their sons and daughters. Sons with the gene will have haemophilia. Some women and girls who carry the gene may also experience bleeding problems. For more information, see www.haemophilia.org.au
  • More than 300 children with a bleeding disorder are registered with the Queensland Children’s Haemophilia Centre, based in the Queensland Children’s Hospital.