Non-pharmacological interventions for eczema to distract children from itch

Authors: Singleton, H., Cui, Y., Ersser, S., Holley, D., Arden-Close, E., Thomas, S., Yang, X. and Roberts, A.

Conference: EADV

Dates: 11-14 October 2023


Background: Current NICE guidelines cover educational and psychological approaches for treating children with eczema exhibiting scratching behaviours. Eczema management is complex and requires well‐planned care, yet evidence shows children continue to scratch despite active condition management. This conference presentation presents our scoping review findings along with two pilot studies, one of which wsa Eczema Igloo.

Aim: To evaluate the acceptability of an Eczema Gaming Igloo to relieve distressing symptoms among parents and their children with eczema (age 7-11 years).

Methods: Parents (n=41) completed observations of their child using the Eczema Igloo. Children (n=6) completed a usability questionnaire and the Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI) questionnaire. Online parental questionnaires ascertained acceptability of gaming to reduce scratching.

Results: Children found the Eczema Igloo enjoyable, peaceful, calming, and relaxing. All parents found computer games an acceptable method to reduce child scratching, particularly during evenings. Busyness and distraction were seen as beneficial to break the itch/scratch cycle.

Conclusion: The Eczema Igloo was deemed acceptable, easy to use, calming and enjoyable as a distraction from scratching. The study highlighted the negative impact of eczema on child and family quality of life (QoL) and the need for distraction interventions.

Summary Scratching due to eczema impacts on the daily lives of children and families. This study highlighted scratching’s impact on psychological and psychosocial QoL, including irritability, low mood, poor sleep, and the need for distraction interventions. Following co-creation methodology, a virtual reality (VR) intervention was co-designed with children aged 7-11. Participants had moderate to severe eczema.

The VR intervention was used in conjunction with usual skin care. The Eczema Igloo was deemed acceptable, easy to use, calming and enjoyable as a distraction from scratching. The optimum time for use was during the evenings to reduce scratching prior to bedtime.

Source: Manual