Pediatric nurse Brenda Hansen was looking for a topic for her CAT (Critically Appraised Topic) in 2021 as she neared completion of her pediatric training. Brenda: ‘I noticed that children regularly experience pain after a procedure or surgery. This is a combination of anxiety and physical pain, so paracetamol alone doesn't help enough. I wanted to do research about a non-medicated pain intervention. Studies in adults showed that an ice lolly works well postoperatively. What would that be like with children?
Brenda did a literature search and discovered positive effects of ice lollys. Studies in young children show that oral administration of sucrose or glucose has a calming and analgesic effect during moderately painful procedures. The ice lolly effect may be explained by the release of endorphins after sugar consumption. She explains: ‘An ice lolly reduces swelling and pain in the throat. This has been previously proven in tonsillectomy, but could possibly help with mucositis as well. In fact, the advice is to give cold drinks for recovery from mucositis. Whether this is actually true with a cool treat has not yet been studied in our target group.' Besides being analgesic and possibly helping with mucositis, Brenda discovered another benefit: 'If a child has fluid restriction, an ice lolly is nice: they can then take more frequent a little bit.' In adults, an ice lolly has previously been shown to work postoperatively against nausea as well. 'It could possibly help in children too, but needs further research', says Brenda.
Orange ice lolly
Brenda becomes increasingly enthusiastic about the research results. She presents her thesis and even wins the Máxima CAT-walk award in December 2021. In consultation with Renske Karens, program leader innovation, and Esther Fijnekam, food & beverage contract manager, Brenda is committed to a project to provide standard ice lollys when children have had surgery. The dream scenario was developed as well: a Máxima ice lolly in the color orange. 'Unfortunately, no budget has yet been found for this. But we persevere and continue monitoring the stock of Rocket Lollys. Through the nursing staff and caterer Hutten, we actively encourage the provision of an ice lolly after surgery. I noticed that parents in particular are very receptive to this cool treat postoperatively with their child. It has all the advantages and is a little festive at the same time,' says Brenda enthusiastically. 'My goal and expectation is that ice lollys will be provided more often in the Máxima Center because it fits in with the policy for pain reduction and fasting before surgery.’