POEMS For Children

POEMS For Children is a UK based charity set up with the aim to train professionals to manage anxious children more effectively.

Our training is designed to help you manage, reduce or completely avoid anxiety in children undergoing medical procedures.

Reducing anxiety at the time of medical intervention has been linked with a reduction in the short and long term signs and symptoms of psychological morbidity children develop after their procedure.

POEMS is an acronym for Positive Outcome and Experience Management Strategies.

The Cause

Up to 80% of children admitted to hospital with chronic illness experience anxiety from hospitalisation alone. Between 50 and 75% of children having surgery experience anxiety in the anaesthetic room.

It has been shown that anxiety directly increases the perception of pain for any given stimulus, can adversely affect immune function and prolong the healing process. Increased anxiety in surgical patients has been shown to cause a statistically significant increase in post- operative analgesic requirement, nausea and vomiting and lead to a prolonged recovery time. In children, the presence and degree of peri- operative anxiety is directly linked with the appearance and magnitude of post-operative dysfunctional behaviour.

Between 24 and 60% of children will display dysfunctional behaviour within the 3 weeks following surgery. This takes the form of eating disorders, problems sleeping, nightmares, temper tantrums, bed- wetting and problems with authority.

Up to 80% of children admitted to hospital with chronic illness experience anxiety from hospitalisation alone.

How we can make a difference

POEMS for Children believe that the number of children affected is so high that the only solution is for every practitioner involved in the care of children in hospital to have a core competency in anxiety management.

This would mean that every member of staff would be trained to identify, manage and potentially prevent anxiety in children under their care. Every member of staff that a child comes into contact with from the moment they step through the hospital doors would be able to significantly reduce the morbidity experienced by that child.

POEMS for Children offer a one day course to educate and assist practitioners in overcoming these issues.