Starlight Virtual Reality reduces pain and anxiety during medical procedures
ROCKFORD, Illinois— Staying in the hospital, for any amount of time, can be hard on kids and their families. The stress of treatment, combined with the urge to go home takes a heavy toll on patients. Mercyhealth is pleased to announce it now has Starlight Virtual Reality (VR) headsets for its Child Life Specialists to use to radically transform the hospital experience for pediatric patients by transporting them out of the hospital and into a virtual world.
Mercyhealth’s new VR headsets help decrease anxiety and pain for children, and also provides dynamic content geared toward entertainment and distraction such as virtual snowball fights, immersive field trips to global locations, meditation, fun video games and more. Patients can also play games that can help with development, education and rehabilitation.
“Hospital stays can be stressful and scary for kids,” said Dr. Mary Baldauf, a Pediatric Critical Care Intensivist at Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside. “Using this technology to distract these patients with fully immersive, fun and relaxing sensory environments can have a significant impact on the level of anxiety and pain that they experience before, during and after procedures, dressing changes and other medical treatments.”
“It’s extremely vital we use supportive measures for patients and families throughout medical procedures,” said Taylor Turben, Certified Child Life Specialist at Mercyhealth. “Part of what we do is develop a coping plan for patients and families to perform these medical procedures, like IV placements, in the most efficient way for staff, as well as the most comfortable and stress-free as possible for the patient. This technology has proven to be a game changer for us.”
The Starlight Children’s Foundation donated two headset units to Mercyhealth as part of its virtual reality program that provides more than 800 children’s hospitals and other pediatric facilities with virtual reality goggles that are preloaded with age appropriate, dynamic content perfect for entertainment and distraction for hospitalized kids.
Mercyhealth offers a wide variety of pediatric specialty care for children, right here in Rockford. In 2018, Mercyhealth became the only state-designated Children’s Hospital in northern Illinois. For more information about Mercyhealth or its pediatric specialties, visit mercyhealthsystem.org.