Radiographers hailed for reducing fear of claustrophobia for patients

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) team at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital have been hailed in the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report for their work around reducing anxiety for patients having scans.

The MRI Scanning department at the Oswestry-based hospital have introduced a number of techniques to help patients who may suffer with claustrophobia when undergoing an MRI scan.

An MRI scanner uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce images of the inside of the body and the results can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatment and assess how effective treatment has been.

Dawn Collins, Lead MRI Radiographer, said: “An MRI scan can be extremely nerve-wracking for a patient who experience claustrophobia so as a team; we took a number of steps to help these patients.

“Firstly, we worked with other clinicians to update the referral form we receive which now features a question about whether the patient suffers with claustrophobia.

“This has been extremely beneficial to us, as we can now prepare for that patients appointment by sending them a leaflet with coping strategies and also book them onto the wider of our two scanners, which has an opening of 70cm and a shorter length bore.”

The use of prism glasses and posters for patients were two tools highlighted in the report as outstanding practice by the CQC.

Dawn added: “Prism glasses are offered to claustrophobic patients and enable the patient to see outside the machine during their scan – whether they want to see a friend or family member or posters that are in the room.

“We find the glasses are an extremely effective tool as they allow patients to relax and stay calm.

“The posters were designed by the team in Medical Illustration and have been strategically positioned to reduce the sense of feeling claustrophobic.”

The CQC report for RJAH was published in February following an inspection back in November 2018.

Dawn said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be recognised for the work we’re doing to improve experience for our claustrophobic patients.

“The whole team have worked extremely hard and I am very proud of them all.”

Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive, said: “It’s clear the team in MRI have patient experience at the forefront of their mind and the work they’ve done to help our claustrophobic patients is really outstanding.

“They have all done a fab job in supporting these patients and it’s great to see the CQC highlighting this in their report.”


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