Selection of Immobilisation Methods by Australian and New Zealand Medical Imaging Technologists in Paediatric Examinations
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Aim: To explore what influences the choices of medical imaging technologists (MITs) when selecting immobilisation methods for paediatric radiological examinations.
Methods: A mixed methods design was used. An online questionnaire was distributed to MITs in Australia and New Zealand to investigate which methods are used and what influences their choices. Individual follow-up interviews were conducted to explore the findings in greater depth. Ethics approval was received. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics (response percentages and Fisher’s exact tests), while content analysis was used for qualitative data.
Results: 65 medical imaging technologists completed questionnaires, with seven also agreeing to be interviewed. Parental holding was most likely to be used (96.9%), but psychological methods were preferred where possible to avoid causing distress or injuries. Immobilisation methods were chosen on a case-by-case basis, using patient age and examination type as guides but adapting to other factors such as patient distress or cooperation. Training was mainly conducted in the workplace; experience in paediatric institutions and education on patient management was desired. Guidelines were thought to potentially limit professional autonomy and personalised patient care.
Conclusion: Immobilisation choices are based on professional judgement and assessment of many factors, with patient age and examination type as important but not infallible guides. Avoiding harm and distress are significant concerns. Short placements at paediatric institutions are recommended as a useful way of improving immobilisation education. Practice may be improved by increased education and training in paediatric development and psychology to better understand the adequate approach to each age.
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