Using vibrating hand controls, and a virtual reality headset, a child’s hospital stay is instantly transformed into another world. “The big hit is virtual reality. Every time a kid gets in front of the VR headset or puts it on it’s just like nothing else matters anymore,” said Shane Swartz, a digital media specialist with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Every day Swartz gives kids a chance to escape their hospital room. “You can go to do more than just video games; you can do YouTube videos and virtual reality. Kids who like dolphins, you can go underwater and swim with dolphins and things like that,” he said.
The games are age appropriate and designed to help kids cope with anxiety, stress, pain, even boredom in the hospital. “It’s just the most humbling thing to go in and just totally change someone’s whole day. If they’re bored, try one of these games or if they’re sad to try one of these games,” said Swartz.
The different games and experiences can help kids have fun, and for a few minutes, forget about the pain. “We had a patient who was in pain, left arm hurt, and didn’t really want to move. The staff was really just encouraging him to stretch and move and get up, but it wasn’t working. So I had heard about it, and I went in to introduce myself. As soon as I wheeled this thing in, I saw the smile light up on his face because he already knew what he was looking at. When I put him in the virtual reality setting, this kid jumped out of bed and started throwing his arms all around,” he said.
Providing a better patient experience for both the child and the family.