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Papers: 19 Nov 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

2022 Nov 17

Children (Basel)



The Effect of Robot-Led Distraction during Needle Procedures on Pain-Related Memory Bias in Children with Chronic Diseases: A Pilot and Feasibility Study.


Rheel E, Vervoort T, Malfliet A, van der Werff Ten Bosch J, Debulpaep S, Robberechts W, Maes E, Mostaqim K, Noel M, Ickmans K
Children (Basel). 2022 Nov 17; 9(11).
PMID: 36421211.


The current study evaluated the feasibility and preliminary clinical impact of robot-led distraction during needle procedures in children with chronic diseases on pain-related memories. Participants were 22 children (8-12 years old) diagnosed with a chronic disease (e.g., chronic immune deficiency) and undergoing a needle procedure as part of their routine treatment. Children were randomized to the experimental group (i.e., robot-led distraction) or control group (i.e., usual care). For feasibility, we evaluated study- and needle-procedure-related characteristics, intervention fidelity and acceptability, and nurse perceptions of the intervention. Primary clinical outcomes included children's memory bias for pain intensity and pain-related fear (1 week later). Results indicated that intervention components were >90% successful. Overall, the robot-led distraction intervention was perceived highly acceptable by the children, while nurse perceptions were mixed, indicating several challenges regarding the intervention. Preliminary between-group analyses indicated a medium effect size on memory bias for pain intensity (Hedges' g = 0.70), but only a very small effect size on memory bias for pain-related fear (Hedges' g = 0.09), in favor of the robot-led distraction intervention. To summarize, while feasible, certain challenges remain to clinically implement robot-led distraction during needle procedures. Further development of the intervention while accounting for individual child preferences is recommended.