Even under the best circumstances, a trip to urgent care can be stressful—especially for children.
The staff members in ZipClinic Urgent Care centers work hard to keep wait times short and patients comfortable during the process. Any child that comes in to ZipClinic gets a color-changing pencil to play with. The clinics also have child play areas. The Disney Channel is shown on at least one television, and one of each clinic’s exam rooms is decorated with a pediatric design. After the visit, child patients get to choose a sticker and pick a lollipop.
ZipClinic Urgent Care centers provide visitors with estimated wait times and keep customer service top of mind. And remember that, in most cases, children will do better in an urgent care setting than they will in an emergency department for minor injuries and sudden non-emergent conditions.
Here are some steps for mitigating a child’s anxiety in the urgent care setting:
- Stay calm yourself to set an example for the child. If you appear overly nervous or scared, your child will likely pick up on it and it will add to their anxiety.
- Talk to him or her about what’s happening so they understand as much as possible about the exam, procedure, or tests being performed. Be honest with kids when a shot or a procedure, like getting stitches, will hurt for a bit. But try to explain that the pain will be temporary and is necessary to help them get better.
- Shower kids with praise and encouragement for their bravery during the visit. Tell them you are proud and give them a sense of accomplishment for staying strong during the trip.
- Provide a small, safe distraction—such as a favorite blanket, stuffed animal, or toy. Bring a book to read, small video game, music or other toys to occupy your child during the wait.
- After the urgent care visit, consider a small treat or reward for your child. The small gesture can help make tears and pain disappear.
Remember also to rely on the trained professionals at the urgent care, who are used to dealing with patients of all ages, to help the whole family get through the visit.