An iPad Today Makes the Pain Go Away? Hospital Gives iPads to Kids in the ER

It’s no secret that kids love the iPad, but it turns out that using the iPad during times of stress, such as a visit to the emergency room, may help kids feel less pain. Thanks to its new iPad initiative, a program that offers iPads to its ER patients, the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford now offers its young patients something beyond bandages and pills.

According to Bernard Dannenberg, MD, director of pediatric emergency medicine at Packard Children’s, “one iPad is worth 10 milligrams of morphine.” Dannenberg believes the iPad’s ability to distract kids makes them less aware of pain.

Each of the hospital’s nine rooms now comes with an iPad that the hospital equips with a range of in-house apps that offer entertainment and information. Patients and their parents can also use the iPad for a range of other activities including using the Internet, printing documents, checking email or chatting with a hospital staff member on FaceTime.

Colette Case, director of Child & Family Life Services at Packard Children’s, explains, “We use the iPads for distraction and for preparing kids for procedures and surgeries. The iPads are a great form of altered focus; the children can use their cognitive skills to focus their thoughts away from the painful or stressful event. The nice thing about the iPad is that it can be a game, it can be a book and it can also be music.”

According to Hargita Kaplan, mother of an 11-year-old daughter with an ovarian cyst, “The iPad distracted my daughter from what the doctors and nurses were doing. It was a little slice of home, and it made everything more bearable for us.”

No one likes to see children suffer, but there’s another deserving group of patients who are suffering: mothers-to-be. Perhaps LPCH’s initiative will prompt obstetricians to add iPads to birthing rooms to help pregnant women cope with the pain of contractions and the discomfort women feel during labor.

Would using an iPad help you the next time you’re enduring an uncomfortable wait? Let us know in the comments.

About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • e-Didaktik

    Wow… is this a joke? How about giving the children care instead of an iPad?

    • Nesbit

      What if it were your child facing an illness that they could not understand?

      • e-Didaktik

        I would care for my child then and talk to it. Not give it a piece of plastic 😉

  • Zachary Burgess-Hicks

    You sir have never been in this position. I sang my son through 500 versus of old macdonald while he was going through care and he cried the whole time but bring up the fishing game and he was solid as a rock.