An ‘ouchless ER’ for children comes to Salem

A local hospital has found a way to relieve some of the stress children can experience going to the emergency room.

MassGeneral for Children at North Shore Medical Center, in Salem recently made its emergency department an “Ouchless ER” to mitigate the pain — and with it the anxiety — of an unplanned trip to the hospital.

“Going to the emergency room is overwhelming enough for kids,” Dr. Brian Sanders, chair of Pediatrics at the Salem facility, said in a statement. “The goal of our ‘Ouchless ER’ is to make shots and other procedures less scary with the help of non-invasive pain-relief methods.”


As part of the initiative, the center’s pediatric emergency physicians and nurses have been trained in distraction and sensitivity techniques and use a variety of tools to make administering shots, wound stitching, inserting IVd, and drawing blood less traumatic for young patients.

Those methods range from providing children with coloring books and games, to using pain-relieving sprays, gels, and creams, nitrous oxide, and needle-free devices to numb injection points.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.