Comfort bundle reduces needle pain for children

Loveland, Colo. – Pediatric nurses at McKee Medical Center are lessening the physical and emotional impact on children when it comes to needle-related procedures by using a method previously applied only in children’s hospitals. The comfort bundle, as it’s called, was introduced last fall and has proven successful as a pain management and intervention tool with laboratory draws, IV starts, and immunizations.

From Elsa’s musical snow wand to a rainmaker toy, the comfort bundle contains various distractions that nurses can use during a needle procedure. Along with the distraction techniques, using the comfort bundle is part of a four-step process that also includes applying lidocaine prior to the procedure, proper positioning of parent and child as well as use of a treatment room.

“I’ve used it for blood draws and it’s more comfortable for the patients and more pleasant for the parents,” explains Mandy Keller, RN with Banner Health. “Many children’s hospitals do this, and we wanted to implement it here at McKee as well because research shows its best practice.”

The comfort bundle was one of the topics discussed last year at an internal Banner Health conference on pediatric care held at North Colorado Medical Center after Keller researched the topic as part of a keystone project for her Clinical Expert Registered Nurse certificate. 

She said her motivation was based on her experience in pediatrics and her desire to improve upon past practices that create fear during needle procedures. Research shows that this fear can have long term consequences.

“Then they don’t want to go back to the doctor or get their immunizations, which can continue into adulthood,” Keller added. 

Horizon Laboratory and pediatric nurses at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley follow the same principles and techniques. The Banner Health Clinic, specializing in pediatrics in Loveland, uses similar techniques. 

Anything involving a needle is done in the treatment room, and though clinic staff don’t often use lidocaine unless they are doing a procedure of some kind, they do incorporate distraction techniques, proper positioning of the child, and parental or staff assistance when needed. 

McKee Medical Center, opened in 1976, is a fully accredited, private nonprofit facility in Loveland, Colorado. McKee is owned by Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare system with 28 hospitals in six states. It offers emergency care, cancer care, heart care, orthopedics, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, intensive care, lab and medical imaging. For more information, please visit