Rolling in style with a smile:
CHUS Fleurimont pediatric patients to drive electric mini-cars to surgery
The CHUS Fleurimont’s pediatric unit launched a new initiative allowing young patients between the ages of 4 and 9 to drive into the operation room in mini electric replicas of an Audi R8 and a Volkswagen Beetle.
“Driving the mini cars helps reduce the patients’ anxiety associated with their hospital experience, and renders it more positive,” explained Hélène Rodrigue, head of the pediatric unit. “What has been observed elsewhere in Europe or in America is that it
effectively reduces stress, which can even allow the reduction of drug doses used to relax the children before surgery. They are also calmer upon waking.”
The cars were offered to the pediatric unit by Janick Dallaire, president of Volkswagen de l’estrie, through a sponsorship made possible by the Fondation des Étoiles’s Encan des vins fundraiser. Every year, the Fondation des Étoiles raises money “that goes directly to the Centre de recherche du CHUS” for the pediatric unit (CRCHUS), specified chief executive officer Josée Saint-pierre. Dr. Christiane Auray-blais, biochemist, researcher, and professor at the CRCHUS, immediately contacted the clinical team which expressed great enthusiasm for the project. Auray Blais hopes that eventually “other dealerships will partner with our project, so more little ones can enjoy riding these cars into surgery.”
Lucian Bourassa-boisvert, 4 years old, was thrilled to ride in the mini Beetle on Thursday afternoon. “He loves it,” said the boy’s mother, Nadia Bourassa. “He is so relaxed and really enjoys using the mini-car.” The initiative is just one of many that serve to ensure that pediatric patients like Lucian have “the most positive hospital experience possible,” said Rodrigue. “These cars help diminish the children’s and their parents’ stress. It is a great opportunity for everyone.”
Ultimately, Rodrigue and Auray-blais hope to expand the project beyond the Chus-fleurimont pediatric unit. They plan on eventually offering the program to young children at the Chus-fleurimont and Hôtel-dieu who come in for a day surgery.
In 2017 and 2018 alone 1,843 children had surgery at the Chus-fleurimont and Hôtel-dieu.
4-year-old Lucian Bourassa-boisvert, a patient at the CHUS Fleurimont pediatric unit, cannot get enough of the electric mini-beetle.
“Driving the mini cars helps reduce the patients’ anxiety associated with their hospital experience, and renders it more positive,” explained Hélène Rodrigue, head of the pediatric unit.