How virtual reality glasses make hospital stays more enjoyable for sick children

Virtual reality is key to a happier hospital experience for sick children as high-tech glasses reduce children’s stress and anxiety in clinical environments

Taking children to the hospital is rarely a fun experience, but technology is making their stay faster and easier.

Smileyscopes are virtual reality goggles that take children out of the sterile environment of the hospital and into colorful underwater worlds or cozy cat cafes.

It’s not a game – these special glasses for patients aged 4 to 11 allow procedures to be carried out more quickly and without the need for sedation, reducing the likelihood that children will have to stay in hospital.

Smileyscope glasses have been shown to reduce a child’s pain by up to 60% and reduce the need for restraints by 48% during needle treatments such as blood tests, vaccinations and chemotherapy.

Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN) is the beneficiary of 10 new helmets, thanks to fundraising efforts by Coles and Curing Homesickness, a charity that helps bring children home from hospital early .

Verity Gobbett, organizational mission manager for the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation, said these medical-grade virtual reality headsets help distract children so injections can be given stress-free.

“Clinicians tell us that for some patients, using Smileyscope headsets means they can perform a procedure much faster and with reduced patient anxiety,” Ms. Gobbett said.

“We are very grateful for the support from Coles and Curing Homesickness. Without her, projects like this would not be possible.

Over the past three years, Coles has raised over $3.4 million for Curing Homesickness, but there’s still more to do.

Smileyscopes at WCHN is just one of the projects that have benefited from this national initiative which helps fund children’s hospital foundations and pediatric wards across Australia.

Funds raised in Victoria will help Monash Children’s Hospital purchase the best technology to implement its stem cell program for premature babies, while funds raised in New South Wales will help support Sydney Children’s Hospitals virtualKIDS service Network and will enable John Hunter Children’s Hospital Newcastle to pilot an early home transfer service for patients in neonatal intensive care units.

Curing Homesickness director Nicola Stokes believes this simple campaign is making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of sick children across Australia.

“We believe that children have no place in the hospital; they belong at home,” she said. “By purchasing a $2 Curing Homesickness card or Mum’s Sause pasta or pizza sauce, you will help fund vital projects to minimize the time children spend in hospitals.”

You can help while you shop by purchasing a $2 donation card at Coles checkouts between March 30 and April 12 to support Curing Homesickness. Or buy a “Mum’s Sause” brand tub of pasta or pizza sauce year-round, with 50 cents from each tub going to a children’s hospital foundation or pediatric ward.

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