After Attacks, Nurses Steer Patients Away from Violent Images on TV

Story Filed: Thursday, October 25, 2001 5:20 AM EST

RENO, Nev., Oct 25, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- When terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, nurses at Craig Hospital in Englewood, CO, knew better than to let patients watch the violent images on television.

Their experience with four survivors of the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 and many other attack-related injuries had made them sensitive to how violent sounds and images can affect already traumatized patients. So on September 11, they steered spinal cord injury patients to the soothing images of nature and ambient music of The C.A.R.E. Channel, 24-hour environmental programming for patient television produced by Healing HealthCare Systems in Reno, Nev.

"In addition to showing the horrifying images of the planes hitting the buildings, the television networks were reporting stories of wheelchair-bound workers being either heroically carried down main flights of stairs, or dying trapped on the higher floors of the Twin Towers," says Susan Mazer, president and founder of Healing HealthCare Systems. "We were all shocked by this, but for newly injured patients just beginning to take stock of being themselves paralyzed, the news was especially harmful to their well-being and rehabilitation."

Designed specifically for healthcare settings and patient television, C.A.R.E. (Continuous Ambient Relaxation Environment) Channel programming utilizes research on music and visual imagery as a means of promoting and enhancing the recovery process. Hospitals in 30 states currently use C.A.R.E. Channel programming.

"Obviously, we shouldn't deny patients access to the news or other programming of interest that covers important events," says Terry Chase, ND, RN, Director of Patient Education & Family Education Coordinator at Craig Hospital. "But, the hospital staff needs to pay attention to the impact of commercial television on patients and families and be able to offer alternatives."