Last updated on February 2018

Magic Therapy to Relieve Pediatric Patient Anxiety and Improve the Hospitalization Experience


Brief description of study

This study will assess the efficacy of magic therapy services in relieving pediatric patient anxiety and parent anxiety in an inpatient setting. It will also measure family satisfaction with child life services during the hospital visit and health professional opinions regarding such a therapy in an inpatient setting. The primary evaluation method will be through surveys. No prior investigations have studied using magic therapy as a primary tool to improve the psychological well-being of pediatric patients over the span of an inpatient hospitalization. Study and improvement of magic therapy services provides an evidence-based approach to improve pediatric patient psychological well-being, assist physicians in obtaining pediatric patient cooperation with procedures, and improving the hospitalization experience for the family of hospitalized pediatric patients.

Detailed Study Description

The use of magic in healthcare has been described across a variety of settings. Several peer-reviewed publications have described the use of magic to help encourage the recovery of motor skills 2. Green et al. reported that after the completion of an intense 2-week magic-theme summer camp, patients with spastic hemiplegia significantly increased the usage of their affected hand 3. Another investigation sought to study if magic could be used to aid in communication with mentally-disabled children 4. This study concluded that magic was effective in building trust, improving the subjects' self-esteem, and enriching their interpersonal skills.

Magic has also been partially studied in a surgical context for relieving perioperative anxiety. One study sought to evaluate the efficacy of clowns (whose performance included magic tricks) in relieving perioperative anxiety 5. Patients that were undergoing surgical procedures were placed in either a clown group or non-clown group. These patients were not grouped based on surgical procedures, and patients were included that were undergoing one of ten different surgeries. Anxiety levels of the pediatric patients were measured in the waiting room and induction room immediately prior to anesthesia administration. Additionally, parent state and trait anxiety was measured during their child's induction using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Health professionals involved in the surgeries were also questioned using a questionnaire developed by the authors to obtain health providers' opinion regarding the presence of clowns as administered in the study. Moreover, clowns filled out a self-evaluation form regarding how they believed their interaction with the child went prior to the surgery. The authors found that the clown group displayed decreased anxiety during anesthesia induction but not in the waiting room. They also documented that health professionals believed the clowns benefitted the child, but at the same time, a majority of the staff discouraged continuance of the program due to interference with operating room procedures.

This study will assess the efficacy of magic therapy services in relieving pediatric patient anxiety and parent anxiety in an inpatient setting. It will also measure family satisfaction with child life services during the hospital visit and health professional opinions regarding such a therapy in an inpatient setting. The primary evaluation method will be through surveys. No prior investigations have studied using magic therapy as a primary tool to improve the psychological well-being of pediatric patients over the span of an inpatient hospitalization. Study and improvement of magic therapy services provides an evidence-based approach to improve pediatric patient psychological well-being, assist physicians in obtaining pediatric patient cooperation with procedures, and improving the hospitalization experience for the family of hospitalized pediatric patients.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03308240

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Maribeth B Chitkara, MD

Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY United States
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