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Hospitalized Children Experience Less Stress When Videoconferencing with Loved Ones

​A video chat with family members can improve children's spirits and wellbeing and reduce their stress levels while in the hospital, according to a study in the July 2014 Pediatrics.

The study, "Videoconferencing to Reduce Stress Among Hospitalized Children," published online June 30, followed 232 children hospitalized for four days or more who were given access to Family-Link, a videoconferencing program that allows children to virtually visit with family members and friends using laptops and webcams.

A control group of 135 children were not Family-Link users. Among children who used videoconferencing, the reduction in overall stress from admission to discharge was 37 percent higher than in children who did not engage in video chats. Among parents, 71 percent agreed that Family-Link helped them stay in touch with their hospitalized child more than usual, and 76 percent of parents reported that participating in the program was either extremely important or important for their child while hospitalized.

Study authors conclude that increasing the quality and frequency of communication between hospitalized children and loved ones can help children overcome the stress, fear, and anxiety often associated with hospitalization. Videoconferencing may impact hospitalized children's disease progression and recovery by affecting their psychological and physiological responses.

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Published
6/30/2014 12:00 AM