Transporting hospitalized kids to another world
Starlight Virtual Reality is a state-of-the-art technology program that delivers happiness to seriously ill kids and 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 just have fun.
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 sit up or lay down and 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
Can Virtual Reality replace general anesthetic or pain medication?
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.
Starlight will have placed approximately 2,000 Virtual Reality units in circulation at pediatric facilities across the U.S. by the end of 2019.
The ultimate goal is that every children’s hospital and pediatric unit is equipped with enough Starlight Virtual Reality units to meet their needs. We estimate this to be 4,500 headsets, one for each Certified Child Life Specialist and clinician who can integrate it at the point of care.
Concurrently, we are adding to our database of VR content and will soon launch a companion app that will mirror the VR content to a phone or tablet in order to allow a medical professional or guardian to see, guide, or curate content for the patient.
We will continue to work on specialized content creation like 360° custom hospital tours and community/multi-player apps. Starlight’s goal is to enable hospitals to create their own VR content (with cameras supplied by Starlight) in order to create content specific to their facility.
Virtual reality is a highly interactive experience that engages children through both structured and unstructured activity
Immersive and stimulating content combats boredom, anxiety, and isolation
Providing activities kids enjoy in their everyday lives helps make an unfamiliar place feel safe and even fun
Being immersed in a virtual experience decreases anxiety and stress, making medical procedures less challenging for patients and clinicians
The ability for a child to be in control helps reduce anxiety during hospitalization and medical procedures
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
Starlight’s VR program supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3
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