Virtual reality transforms children's hospital experience

For children like George who feel anxious about coming into the hospital for tests and treatment our charity-fundedvirtual reality (VR) kit has made all the difference.

Five-year-old George is one of hundreds of children who will benefit from the VR equipment in our Paediatric Outpatients Department at St Luke’s Hospital each year. It has been welcomed with open arms by parents and staff who have struggled in the past with distressed and anxious children who come in for blood tests and treatment. Instead they are now transported into a 3D fantasyworld of dinosaurs and a safari.

Specialist nurse Paul Dawson said the VR had made “a massive difference” to George’s visit as he had been “chilled” rather than distressed.

Play specialist Sarah Whale (pictured) said feedback so far showed there had been a 77.3 per cent reduction in anxiety among children who had used the VR kit during treatment.

Tia George’s mum watched with relief has her little boy happily chatted about the virtual world he could see. She said he had cried for an hour and a half the day before and had often had to be held down during treatment. But she said using the VR kit he had not been stressed at all.

“Parents think it is amazing and has even helped with their anxieties as they have dreaded bringing their child for a blood test” said Sister Debbie Griffiths.

Sister Debbie Griffiths said she hopeda needle phobia clinic using the VR kit would be set up for children who have severe difficulties.The VR kit costs around £6500 for a two-year lease. We hope to fund further kits to use in other areas of the hospital in future.

The VR Kit costs around £6500 for a two year lease.  We would like to say a sincere thank you to Friends of St.Lukes Charity who supported Bradford Hospitals Charity in part funding this equipment.  Friends of St.Lukes work tirelessly to run the hospital tea bars and fundraise to ensure patients benefit greatly from their donations.

We hope to fund further kits to use in other areas of the hospital in the future.