Staying in the hospital for extended periods of time can make it hard to feel like a kid. The joys of childhood take a backseat to treatments, surgeries, and medications, and kids can feel like they’re missing out on a lot.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital knows every day experiences can normalize hospital stays by making kids’ days more familiar. That’s why they help kids in the hospital continue their education in a fun way with Starlight Virtual Reality!
Starlight Virtual Reality is a state-of-the-art technology program that delivers happiness to seriously ill kids and their families through a variety of 20+ pre-loaded, curated games, apps, and other experiences to help distract kids during difficult medical procedures or to help them relax, laugh, and have fun.
It includes a customized, thoroughly wipeable, and wireless hospital-ready headset with content that allows patients with limited mobility to sit up or lay down and control their experience using a remote or only their head.
St. Louis Children’s can add different virtual experiences, like outer space exploration or an animal visit, based on what each patient is interested in. Plus, patients can get school credit by writing reports on what they learned during the experience!
“Starlight Virtual Reality takes learning to a whole new level,” said Nikki, CCLS, and Gaming Technology Specialist at St. Louis Children’s. “For our long-term patients who are here for several months or our dialysis patients who are here four to five times a week, every week, virtual reality is a great way for them to learn.”
Starlight VR provides hands-on learning experiences for patients by allowing them to interact with real or imagined worlds that are so different than the four hospital walls they see all day. Plus, virtual reality can help with pain management, emotional support, and more.
“Starlight Virtual Reality has enhanced patients’ coping abilities and improved their engagement level,” said Nikki. “School turned into something fun that they looked forward to instead of a chore they had to complete.”
It can be no fun to do boring schoolwork, but patients love using virtual reality to learn and explore their interests. It is even specially made so patients with limited mobility can enjoy exploring.
“A patient with severe vision impairments was able to explore outer space with his mom using virtual reality,” said Nikki. “The patient was so excited because virtual reality goggles have not been successful in the past due to him not being able to see properly. It turned out to be a wonderful bonding experience.”