Transforming the Hospital Experience through Starlight Virtual Reality

When Austen had the bandage on his foot changed, he said it was the most excruciating pain he had ever experienced. His mom demanded more pain medications or some sort of distraction for her son, so child life specialists brought in Starlight Virtual Reality. 

“Next dressing change, they gave me the VR, and I was playing a fishing game. You could look around and it was so real that I didn’t worry about my foot,” Austen said. “It did hurt, but it wasn’t nearly as bad, because I just kept fishing!” 

Austen, in the hospital playing Starlight Virtual Reality

In the world of ever-changing technology and immersive games, we are bringing the fun and excitement of a virtual world to children who may not be able to leave the hospital. And the transformation is incredible. 

Starlight Virtual Reality is a groundbreaking, state-of-the-art technology program that radically transforms the hospital experience for kids by transporting them out of the hospital and into a virtual world. 

As seen at the Denver Film Festival, watch how Starlight VR reduces the use of opioids and anesthesia and delivers happiness to Austen and two other kids at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

What makes Starlight VR so special?

You can’t find anything like it outside of the hospital.  

That’s right. We worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment and technology to design Starlight VR just for kids in the hospital. 

Thanks to the program's Founding Sponsor, Star Wars: Force For Change, with additional support provided by The Walt Disney Company and Niagara Cares, kids in hundreds of hospitals across the US are able to enjoy state-of-the-art VR technology through the Lenovo Mirage SoloTM with Daydream by Google. 

This headset was made to meet strict infection safety protocols for use in hospital settings — so every inch of the headset can be completely cleaned to avoid spreading germs — and comes pre-populated with dynamic, age-appropriate content geared toward entertainment and distraction. 

Kids who are bed-ridden or have limited or no use of their hands can still enjoy Starlight VR — because we designed it specially for them. 

How are hospitals using it?

Hospital staff in all clinical areas of expertise are seeing the potential of virtual reality. 

“Virtual reality has been a fantastic addition for our patients in the clinical setting. In some instances, instead of prescribing medications, we’ve been able to curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during medical procedures such as blood draws, transfusions, wound cleanings, casting, and more,” said Chantel Barney, PH.D, Clinical Scientist, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn. 

Starlight VR offers engaging opportunities for children to practice motions that may seem impossible to them in the real world. Patients exposed to virtual reality as part of their therapy report lower ratings of pain and an increased range of motion. 

“It was such a fun distraction from the hospital. When playing the fishing game and doing the relaxation apps, I did not feel any pain,” said 15-year-old Tiahna Hughes at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. 

Donate Starlight VR and deliver happiness

Since 2018, 1300 Starlight VR headsets have transformed the hospital experience for 12,073 children at 310 healthcare facilities in 41 states.  

Provide a VR unit to your local hospital with an $1,800 donation and be recognized as a sponsor.  

We want every children’s hospital and pediatric unit to be equipped with enough Starlight VR headsets for every seriously ill child who needs one. We estimate that to be about 4,500 headsets. We need your help.  

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