Transporting hospitalized kids to another world to help reduce pain and anxiety
Starlight Virtual Reality is a state-of-the-art technology program that provides pediatric patients the opportunity to “escape” the walls of their hospital room into new worlds of fun and exploration. It can be used to distract kids during difficult and painful medical procedures or as a resource to reduce a child’s stress and anxiety caused by hospitalization.
It is the first general use VR program for hospitals that includes a customized, thoroughly wipeable, and wireless hospital-ready headset with content that allows patients with limited mobility to control their experience using a remote or only their head.
“In certain circumstances, Virtual Reality can be used in place of general anesthesia to help tolerate pain, and in fact, it is having a profound impact on the quality of our hospitalized children’s experiences. We are seeing children who used to require general anesthesia during certain procedures, now able to be fully awake with minimal medications.”
– Joe Albietz, MD, Medical Director at Child Life, Children’s Hospital Colorado
In reality, 7-year-old Grady is wheelchair-bound, who received weeks of treatment and physical therapy at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota. In virtual reality, he explored the streets of London, pointing at the double-decker bus that rolled by, seemingly only a few feet away. Grady was one of the first patients to use Starlight Virtual Reality while he was recovering from spinal surgery. Even with limited mobility, he was able to travel the world.
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Being immersed in a virtual experience decreases anxiety and stress, making medical procedures less challenging for patients and clinicians
Usage can help manage pain and distress associated with a variety of medical procedures by encouraging patients to relax and breathe through the discomfort
Games can provide an opportunity to practice motions that can lead to reports of lower pain levels and an increased range of motion