Who We Are and What We Do

Some medical procedures cause patients to feel scared, anxious, stressed – this is especially true when that patient is a vulnerable child or adolescent. That’s why the Pediatric Procedural Sedation Center at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida – the only center of its kind in the region -- uses sedation along with psychosocial support to make children feel safer and more comfortable if they have certain medical procedures in our hospital.

Our expert staff rigorously trains to go the extra mile and ensure a stress-free experience for both children and their caregivers by offering distraction, compassion, and employing the latest in technological advances. We are also trained to provide sedation and work with children who have special needs such as autism, developmental delays, and behavioral issues.

By choosing Golisano’s sedation center services, your family or primary care referring physician guarantees the best possible care for a frightened child from infant to over 18. Our unique, dual approach to children’s health care sets us apart from the competition in Southwest Florida as well as the rest of the nation.

The Pediatric Procedural Sedation team includes a certified nursing assistant, four specially trained nurses, a respiratory therapist, an advanced provider, a pediatric intensivist, and a certified child life specialist. Each member of our multidisciplinary team shares the same goal ever day: to provide quality, individualized to you and your family.


Pediatric Sedation Major Services and Procedures:

  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • CT/US Biopsies
  • CT/US Drainage
  • PICC (Peripherally inserted central catheter)
  • LP (Lumbar Puncture: Hematology/Oncology and Sedation Unit)
  • Spinraza Injections (Treatment for spinal muscular atrophy)
  • Bone Marrow (Hematology/Oncology and sedation Unit)
  • ABR hearing test
  • Nuclear Med Scans
  • PET Scans (Positron Emission Tomography, offsite)
  • Labs
  • ECHO (Heart and blood vessel test)
  • EEG (Brain electrical activity test)
  • Radiation (offsite)
  • Eye Exams
  • Wound/Burn Dressing Changes
  • Botox Injections
  • Urology Procedures

What is Sedation?

Many people think that sedation is the same as anesthesia or always involves putting a child to sleep. But sedation is simply a way to help your child complete invasive or lengthy medical procedures in a safe, stress-free manner.

While our sedation medication is typically administered through an IV, we do have additional options to help ease the process including a numbing spray and the ability to provide oral or intranasal medication before the IV to help anxiety and agitation.

Remember: Sedation mimics natural sleep and is extremely safe. We provide sedation for children who are pre-determined, have a scheduled appointment, and meet the safety criteria.

But did you know that sometimes sedation is not required? Proper preparation, distraction, and play can provide enough comfort and support for your child during a procedure. Our child life specialist may use classic toys such as bubbles and light spinners or more high-tech items such as iPads or movie glasses to make your child laugh and put his or her mind at ease. We personalize each patient’s experience based on their likes and needs! We are prepared to do whatever it takes to make your child’s procedure positive, pleasant, and painless.


Quick Stats:

In 2017, our staff performed 1,103 pediatric MRIs. Of those, 798 were sedated. That means we performed 305 procedures without sedation. At least 217 of the MRIs without sedation had support from our Child Life Specialist.

So let’s learn a little more about what these amazing staffers can do to help your child:


Child Life Support

A child life specialist’s full-time job? Making the hospital a kid-friendly place. These child development experts know that children communicate through play and need someone to connect with them on their level by explaining procedures, talking and laughing, and decreasing anxiety and fear.

Research has shown that children who are prepared for medical procedures experience less fear and anxiety, which promotes cooperation during procedures and better long-term adjustment to future medical experiences.


Child Life specialists use play to help children cope with hospitalization:

  • Play can be used to teach a patient about their upcoming procedure or a new diagnosis
  • Play helps normalize the hospital environment and promote normal development
  • Play helps refocus patients during procedures
  • Play helps assess how well the patient understands what is happening and their ability to cope

What Can Child Life Use in Sedation to Help Your Child?

  • Cinema vision: In our MRI department we have “cinema vision” goggles that allow your child to lie back and watch a movie—either from our collection of more than 50 DVDs or one they bring from home. The goggles turn the MRI machine into a personal movie theater and enable our patients to sit still for longer periods of time without sedation. We fill our MRI rooms with soothing colors, relaxing wall displays, and music, too. We performed 217 MRIs in 2017 using the movie goggles.
  • Vecta Mobile Sensory Station: This exciting, valuable tool features a bubble tube that changes color, an LED projector that casts colorful pictures on the walls or ceiling, and a CD player. The Vecta features fiber optic light strands that the child can play with for additional sensory needs.
  • Sensory Kit: The sensory kit offers additional types of play and stimulation. We have textured toys, light-up and musical toys, noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets, and much more.
  • Kitten Scanner: Children who need an MRI or CAT scan can check out this scanner, which is a miniature replica of the large machine. A patient can choose an elephant, chicken, alligator, or robot and put it through a test! Each toy has a short video that explains why the toy is having the test, why it is important, and what the test finds. The Kitten Scanner helps children feel more comfortable because they know what to expect during the procedure.
  • iPad: Child Life Specialists also have iPads with games for distraction during procedures and specially made prep books to show first-hand experience of MRIs, CT scans, X-rays, PICC lines, ultrasounds, etc.
  • Psychosocial Support: Procedures can range anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours, and our child life specialist will promote positive coping during each test for your child. That could mean sitting in the room and holding their hand, talking to them through a headset to offer encouragement and praise, or playing a game.