Children coming into hospital for surgery are now benefitting from virtual reality technology that was purchased with donations to Over and Above.
Marshalls pub in Barnstaple has raised thousands of pounds to support patients, particularly for the children’s ward (Caroline Thorpe Ward) and chemotherapy unit (Seamoor Unit) at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH).
Recently Marshalls has raised £1,400 for Over and Above, and staff on the Day Surgery Unit at NDDH decided to use some of these funds to purchase virtual reality headset kits for children coming into hospital.
How do the virtual reality headsets work?
Before a child comes in for surgery, the virtual reality headset kits are posted to their home. Parents can download an app to their mobile phone and put their phone in the cardboard headset. The child can then take a virtual tour of the hospital, including the clinical environment in the Day Surgery Unit, such as the bay area and anaesthetic room.
The technology also offers parents and children an explanation of what will happen on the day using language that is tailored to the child’s age, alongside contact details to signpost them to further help after they have had their procedure.
Fran Greenaway, play specialist, said: “Coming into hospital can be quite a scary experience for children. What can make a huge difference is building familiarity with the things that they will see before they come in for their procedure.
“We do lots of things to help prepare children before they come into hospital, but these virtual reality kits are a really wonderful addition to the techniques we are already using. Parents can use this with their children at home at a time that suits them and as often as they like – and they’re a lot of fun!”
Dr Rob Conway, consultant anaesthetist, said: “These headsets are a really simple but effective way of using virtual reality technology to help our patients.
“Thank you to staff and supporters at Marshalls pub for their kind donation, and thank you to the staff in the Day Surgery Unit and across the Trust who have helped to bring this technology to our patients.”