Posted by Jamie Hicks on March 25, 2015
Three years ago my son started on Humira in an attempt to get his Ulcerative Colitis into remission. Although it quickly became apparent that Humira was controlling his UC, my husband and I were struggling to successfully administer the drug. Our process consisted of 30 to 40 minutes of negotiation along with bribes and other unsuccessful attempts at minimizing the injection pain. We tried our best to allow our son to have some control over the situation by waiting for him to tell us when he was ready. In the end, we were just getting frustrated. That is when we found Buzzy.
Buzzy was developed by a physician and pain researcher (www.buzzy4shots.com). It works on the Gate Control Theory of Pain. Its design confuses the nerves with both temperature and vibration. The theory is that this distracts from the injection pain and interrupts the neural pain pathways. Using Buzzy has reduced our shot time to 2-3 minutes and has greatly reduced the family stress and anxiety associated with this experience. I knew that we needed to make Buzzy accessible to all of our patients who receive injections or infusions to help with injection pain and needle phobia. With a price tag of $40, our care team recognized that this purchase could be a burden on families already dealing with high medical costs.
Our Parent Mentoring Group at Riley Hospital for Children did research using the ICN database to determine the number of our patients that were using injections and infusions as their primary therapy. We collected data from the infusion nurses and Child Life specialists that had been successfully using Buzzy in the hospital. Armed with this data and personal experience, we prepared a grant that we submitted to the Women for Riley, a philanthropic group of women that support the Riley Hospital and Foundation. Our group was then selected to present our grant to the review board. In late February, we received word that we were awarded the grant to purchase 150 Deluxe Buzzy Kits to distribute to our patients.
Over the next year, we will be distributing these kits to this target group of patients and any new patients that start on infusions or injections. We plan on surveying the recipients to gauge the effectiveness of this device. Our hope is that Buzzy will improve the time spent administering injections, lower family frustration, and reduce the overall pain of the injection. These kids go through so many procedures and experience so much pain with their diseases. It is wonderful to have a small tool to help in a big way.
[Editor’s Note: This story was shared by Liz D - a mom of a three boys. Her youngest son was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 5. She volunteers her time as a parent representative on the Riley Hospital for Children Parent Mentor Group, where she is an advocate for all families with IBD receiving care at Riley. A mechanical engineer by trade, Liz has “retired” and loves her role as a full-time wife and mother. This has also allowed her to pursue her love of all that is artistic and creative. Over the past 12 years, she has taught both photography and memory preservation classes to both adults and kids.]