We make the hospital less scary for children

Staying in a hospital can be a scary experience for kids, but a little distraction can make it less stressful. According to studies conducted by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, distracted patients have an easier time with their appointments and require less pain medication. (source: https://alderhey.nhs.uk/research/childrens-nursing).

XR experiences are so new and immersive that kids pay attention--they focus on the XR and not on the unpleasantness of the situation. This is highly effective for blood draws, dressing changes, sleep study prep, and many other situations where kids have difficulty cooperating with treatment, either because it is painful and scary or long and boring.

The Next Big Thing in Physical Rehabilitation

Studies have shown that only 30% of exercises get done when people leave the rehabilitation center. Moreover, a study reported that individuals post stroke typically spend only 20-60 minutes per day in formal therapy. Common factors of  disengagement include boredom, fatigue, lack of motivation and lack of cooperation in attending therapy (Shaheen, 2011).
 
It is clear that the gamification element that XR can add to physical therapy is a crucial feature to improve patient’s engagement and overall progress. To gamify therapy means to bring some elements from games, like skill progression and rewards, into the real-world therapy.

XR is the next logical step in healthcare

When we are designing children’s hospitals, we tend to focus on how to make the medical environment seem more like home for young patients and their families. What has been less well considered, until now, is how we can use smart technology and design to help children engage in their own treatments in subtle yet empowering ways.

Clinicians tell us it can be difficult to prepare children for surgery and other medical procedures. They tend to rely largely on bedside conversations in the run up to treatment to gauge their young patients’ wellbeing and state of mind. Yet children often find it hard to express how they are feeling, particularly to adults they are unfamiliar with.

That’s set to change, thanks to the increasing popularity of wearable technology and handheld devices. Children use this type of technology for play, and learning at school, so inviting them to use it to become involved in their treatments is a logical step. (source)

5 uses of xr in children's hospitals

Over the last couple years, we’ve begun to see the revolutionary effects of what extended reality can do for children in the hospital. XR can be safe, effective, and immensely impactful for patients. Here are 5 ways XR brings the greatest value to patients, families, therapists, and hospitals:

XR distracts

XR experiences are so new and immersive that kids pay attention--they focus on the XR and not on the unpleasantness of the situation. This is highly effective for blood draws, dressing changes, sleep study prep, and many other situations where kids have difficulty cooperating with treatment, either because it is painful and scary or long and boring.

XR facilitates escape

XR is not only a powerful redirection tool, it can also transform the environment. Layering digital experiences on physical spaces can open up a secret world, ripe for exploration. Giving kids (and parents) a brief reprieve from the reality of their situation is important, but it’s also necessary to stay grounded in the limitations of the child’s abilities, treatment, and the hospital environment.

XR engages

The hospital is an unfamiliar environment, full of strangers, uncertainty, and without any normal routine or control, making it difficult for a child to understand how to exist in it. The multi-sensory nature of XR along with the multidimensional aspects gives kids new and unique ways to interact with the world around them.

XR encourages movement

We’ve seen with PokemonGo that XR can encourage kids to walk, but it can help with other gross motor skills too, like arm and head movement, sitting up, and shifting body position. This is important as physical activity is crucial to maintaining certain patients’ level of health. But it’s not just about walking around. XR on mobile devices can provide the small targets needed to help a child work on controlling movements and refining fine motor skills. XR also provides the incentive: rewarding kids with magical and unique experiences.

XR manages pain

It’s been proven that kids experiencing XR have reduced perception of pain while immersed in virtual worlds. With the help of extended reality, a two-year-old can fly through a blood draw without tears and a young boy can laugh through a catheterization. Using XR to reduce the necessity of drug intervention for pain management is one of its most impactful applications.

In 2018 197.146 children between 0 and 9 years (incl healthy new-borns) and 158.713 between 10 and 19 years have been patient in a hospital in Norway

(source: statistisksentralbyrå)

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