As a parent, your role is to help your child understand and navigate the world around them. That includes potentially confusing and challenging situations, like medical treatment. And while clinical research has come a long way in terms of comfort, convenience, and child-friendly practices, it can be difficult to know how to explain clinical research to children. After all, your child may have a lot of questions before they participate in a clinical research study. Will it hurt? How long will it last? Will it make me feel better or worse? Read on for advice from medical professionals that may help your child better understand clinical research.
How to Explain Clinical Research to Children
The Importance of Pediatric Clinical Research
First, let’s review the importance of pediatric clinical research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that only about 20 percent of drugs are currently labeled for pediatric use, which proves problematic since children naturally respond to drugs differently than adults. This is why pediatric research studies are so important. Without well-orchestrated pediatric research studies, we can’t be sure that our children are being prescribed safe and effective drugs. Pediatric research studies can also help doctors improve palliative care measures for pediatric patients. Understanding the potentially groundbreaking effects of pediatric clinical research can go a long way in easing your mind – and your child’s mind – before research studies begin.
Explaining Research in Terms Children Can Understand
In general, doctors recommend preparing your child for a clinical research study in the same way you would prepare them for medical treatment. One best practice is to use language that your child can understand when describing clinical research study procedures. For younger children, you might consider drawing a picture to demonstrate the ins and outs of a procedure – an injection going into an arm, for example – so they are prepared for the details of the trial. If your child is relatively new to medical treatment, you can also show them pictures of doctors and nurses to help them understand that medical professionals are friendly, caring people.
Emphasize the Importance of Clinical Research
Make sure to use simple, clear terms to help your child understand the purpose of the trial. For example, “This drug/medical device could make you feel better,” or “This drug/medical device could allow doctors to help other kids like you.” If children understand the important purpose behind a clinical research study, they will be more likely to follow through with treatment.
Understanding Your Child’s Concerns
When in doubt, make sure to listen and understand your child’s concerns around research studies. After all, a young child may be concerned that a procedure will hurt. Make sure that your child feels comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns about the trial. Those concerns can cover a variety of issues:
- Keeping up with daily medications and treatments alongside school and activities
- Not understanding medical treatment
- Feeling frustrated with side effects of treatment
- Feeling scared or confused about complex medical procedures
Remember that if you’re wondering how to explain clinical research to children, a large part of the process will be answering the unique questions your child raises.
Honest, open communication is crucial when it comes to children and research studies. If you’re not sure where to start, children’s hospitals can be a great resource to help soothe your child’s fears around research studies. They may have designated toolkits and kid-friendly activities to keep your child’s mind off of treatment. You can also work with your trial organizer to create an ongoing plan for your child’s comfort. Overall, explaining the trial – and the importance of the trial – in terms your child can understand can go a long way.
Have you ever thought about participating in a clinical research study? You could be a part of history! And QPS Missouri is looking for new participants. Since opening its doors in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted over 1,000 FDA-regulated studies, paying out over $35 million to local participants. Your local participation could have a global impact, as QPS is an international leader in contract research with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our mission is to accelerate the development of drugs worldwide by enabling breakthroughs in pharmaceutical innovation. This includes several pediatric studies across several age ranges. If you would like to join us in this crucial healthcare mission, consider applying for a clinical research study.
To get started, you simply need to fill out an online application. Within 48 business hours, a recruiting coordinator will contact you for your pre-screening assessment. To learn more, please visit the QPS Missouri website, review the study participation process, or check out our list of frequently asked questions.