Virtual reality has the ability to take sick children from their hospital beds to far-away worlds, under the sea or on a rollercoaster, so where do they want to go?
“The young kids at The Alfred’s oncology ward told us they just wanted to be ‘anywhere but here’,” virtual reality maker Trent Clews-De Castella told The Huffington Post Australia.
He is co-creator of virtual reality company Phoria, that is creating experiences specifically for sick children in hospitals, thanks to a new grant from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.
“We’re realising we don’t need to reinvent the wheel in terms of experiences so we’re looking at what’s proven in the medical space to have therapeutic benefits,” Clews De-Castella said.
As a nurse clinician in the comprehensive hemophilia treatment center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for nearly 30 years, Charmaine Biega, RN, has watched her patients endure hundreds of needle sticks for infusions and other procedures which can mean tears, frustration, wiggling and – in some cases – lifelong anxiety about the medical system and treatments that patients with hemophilia need to survive. But when she administered six-year-old Brody Bowman’s infusion this month in clinic, he was doing something she had never seen him do before a needle stick: having fun.
That is because several of her patients are enrolled in a pilot study which is testing a first of its kind virtual reality experience developed by the hemophilia team and design experts from Nationwide Children’s and students from The Ohio State University. The virtual reality game, Voxel Bay, was specifically created for her patient population to fully engage them in an immersive environment of penguins, pirates and hermit crabs during infusions and other procedures.
“Brody just started getting his treatments through IV on a regular basis and was having a really rough time,” said Charmaine. “But the first time he used the game in clinic, he was so completely engaged in the game when the IV was administered, he just barely flinched. The difference in how patients react during a procedure when they are playing these interactive games is remarkable.”
By News Medical
Up to 12,000 children and young adults treated at Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center since 2010 could be at risk of infection from surgical instruments that may not have been properly sterilized.
The hospital is sending out warnings to patients and their families, offering free tests for blood-borne viruses, including hepatitis B and C and HIV, said hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jeff Sperring.