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UK student makes CT scans less traumatic for children

CT scans are often difficult for children as they require the patient to lie completely still for a lengthy period of time. The scan can also be frightening due to its claustrophobic nature and loud volume.
Practitioners frequently report problems with getting children to comply; even the comforting presence of a parent or carer is made problematic by the lead-lined gowns they are forced to wear if they wish to remain in the room.
Radiography student Hirra Zafar is aiming to make this potentially upsetting situation easier, with her colourful sticker range designed specifically for this purpose.
Hirra, who has received support from the Launch@SalfordUni for her business, said: “Giving stickers to children makes them more compliant for procedures. There currently aren’t any available for CT scans, and I plan on changing that. There is a real need for it.”
Hirra came up with the idea while working at the Salford Royal as part of her course placement. Since then, her initiative has been greeted with great enthusiasm and positive feedback, with the hospital’s radiology manager tweeting about it.
As Hirra explains: “I noticed a real gap in the market for this kind of thing. I plan on expanding my range, but at the moment I am focussing on CT stickers. The designs feature doughnuts because radiographers often refer to this type of scan as ‘the doughnut’. I really believe this will make a big difference.
I don’t have a business background, so working with Launch will hopefully help me to grow this idea and get these stickers into more hospitals. I’m really keen to expand my range.”
Angela Abbott, CT Lead Radiographer at the Salford Royal Hospital, has been working with Hirra and using her stickers with patients. She said: “Hirra has been absolutely amazing to work with, and her stickers have definitely made a difference in getting children to comply when they are having a scan.
CT scans involve high doses of radiation, which means there are some restrictions on parents being in the room, making emotional support for the children harder. It is very traumatic for lots of children, particularly those under 12, and it is vital they stay still when having the scans, so anything that incentivises them is a bonus.
Launch@SalfordUni is a collaboration between the Careers & Enterprise Department and Salford Business School. Dr Janice Allan, Interim Deputy Dean, said: “It’s this kind of idea that makes us proud to support the incubator space. Our students are creative and innovative and anything we can do to support them to transform their ideas into reality is fantastic. This idea in particular has to the potential to make things a little bit easier for children who are undergoing a difficult time.”