Patient Experience in MRI: 3 Ways to Make Scans More Comfortable

MRI scans are crucial for diagnostics but often induce patient anxiety. Uncertainty surrounding results pre and post-scan can be stressful. Hence, well-trained sonographers create a comfortable environment. Addressing comfort and anxiety is vital for a positive patient experience during this key diagnostic procedure. Check out these three ways to enhance scan comfort!

1. Easing Anxiety Pre-Scan

Healthcare providers can help reduce pre-scan anxiety by establishing reassuring communication with the patient before the procedure. This can include explaining what will happen during the MRI scan, providing information materials, and offering orientation sessions to make the experience less intimidating. Relaxation techniques like guided imagery or breathing exercises before the scan can also empower patients to manage their anxiety. Creating a welcoming and calming pre-scan environment with serene visuals or soothing music can further contribute to reducing a patient’s apprehension.

  • Simplified Procedure Explanations

Explaining MRI procedures in simple terms helps patients feel more at ease and less anxious about what’s to come. By using clear language instead of medical jargon, we can make the MRI process easier to understand. When patients understand the steps involved in a calm and relaxed way, they are more likely to cooperate, leading to better scan results.

  • Pre-Scan Meditation Techniques

Across all activities, meditation offers a sanctuary of peace. It can stabilize the mind before an MRI procedure. Teaching simple mindfulness exercises beforehand is helpful for anxiety. Meditation doesn’t need much training; even short sessions can bring mental relief. Effective meditation begins with focused breathing. Deep inhales and slow exhales help anchor attention on the breath, reducing anxiety. Tranquil thinking diminishes stress and achieves a more relaxed state of mind, improving the scanning experience for both the healthcare professional and the patient.


2. Enhancing In-Scan Comfort

Ensuring the physical comfort of patients during an MRI scan is as critical as addressing their mental state. Adjustable cushioning and positioning aids can be used to alleviate pressure points and prevent stiffness. Such ergonomic accommodations, tailored to each individual’s needs, allow the body to rest more naturally within the confines of the scanning equipment, reducing physical discomfort that could exacerbate anxiety. The ambiance within the MRI suite also plays a significant role in patient comfort. Dimming lights to a soft glow can soothe the senses, whereas a strategically selected color scheme may induce relaxation. An ambient sound system that delivers calming music or nature sounds masks the machine’s intimidating noises. Combined, these environmental adjustments create a sensory experience that can allay fears and contribute to a more tranquil diagnostic procedure.

  • Ergonomic Padding Usage

Ergonomically designed padding ensures adequate support for the patient, alleviating pressure points that can cause discomfort during lengthy scans. It is also important to note that investing in high-quality materials avoids skin irritation and enhances the overall patient experience during the scan. The strategic placement of pads not only supports but also helps in maintaining a proper posture, which is critical for optimal scan quality. Integrating ergonomic pads into MRI procedures is a testimony to a facility’s commitment to patient-centered care, showcasing their investment in providing a serene and comfortable scanning environment. 

  • Communication During Scans

Effective communication is key to a patient-centered MRI experience. Precise and calming instructions can reduce anxiety and encourage cooperation, leading to successful scans. Clear instructions, given with patience and empathy, allow patients to play an active role in their own care. Make sure to communicate in a calm, friendly manner! 


3. Post-Scan Support and Feedback

After the MRI scan, it is important that the healthcare professional is available to answer queries and provide support for any immediate concerns. Patients should have a space to discuss discomfort or ask questions about the procedure. This helps show that we care about their well-being beyond just the scan. Getting feedback is also crucial in improving the MRI experience. Patients’ perspectives can give us valuable insights into how we can make protocols more efficient and communication strategies more effective. 

  • Immediate Aftercare Information

After the scan, patients should receive information promptly about expected sensations or side effects post-scan. This important briefing helps prevent concerns and ensures a smooth recovery. Sometimes, patients may experience temporary dizziness or unfamiliar sensations due to the stillness during the MRI or the contrast agent used. It’s important to know these effects are usually temporary and that medical personnel are available if any worrisome symptoms occur. This reassurance can ease anxiety and provide security as you leave the scanning environment.

  • Patient Experience Surveys

To improve, assess where you did well and where you can improve. Conduct surveys regularly to identify trends and make strategic decisions to increase patient satisfaction. These surveys also help us understand patient anxieties and preferences during MRI procedures so we can develop services that better meet their needs. Feedback mechanisms capture positive and negative experiences, allowing us to make real-time adjustments and long-term improvements. Through ongoing assessment and adaptation, we ensure our services remain patient-focused, building trust and enhancing the overall patient journey.


Learn About Proper Patient Care with Smith Chason!

Smith Chason College prioritizes education that understands each patient’s unique needs and preferences. Explore the Smith Chason page for program and admission information!

 

FAQs About MRI Patient Care:

How do you prepare a patient for an MRI?

To ensure a safe MRI experience, inform patients about the procedure and risks, have them remove metal items, screen for incompatible conditions or devices, obtain a detailed medical history, and provide clear instructions. Prioritize safety and comfort throughout.

What does a patient do during an MRI?

In an MRI, the patient lies on a table that moves into a tube-like machine for 30 minutes to an hour. Following technician instructions, the patient stays still, possibly holding their breath. Ear protection minimizes noise. Cooperation ensures accurate, detailed images of the targeted area.

What are the nursing interventions for MRI scan?

Nursing interventions for an MRI involve ensuring patient safety and comfort. Pre-scan, educate the patient, address concerns, and assess specific needs. During the scan, monitor vital signs and provide support. Ensure necessary preparations and post-scan, assess for complications and offer appropriate care.

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