A SOLIHULL youngster has given his verdict on Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s newest play therapy equipment.
Dexter, aged 12, and his mum Kimberly Wiggins were invited to test the new virtual reality (VR) headsets funded by the Children’s Hospital Charity.
VR is currently used by the specialist Play and Youth Service to support patients over the age of seven as a distraction technique during minor medical procedures and as an alternative for general anaesthesia.
As a patient at the hospital, Dexter wanted to lend a hand and give his honest review of the technology.
Kimberly said: “Dexter loved testing out and reviewing the virtual reality headsets.
“It was nice to see him enjoying himself, having fun and wanting to help other children. The technology has really helped take his mind off being in the hospital and he felt most relaxed with the animal virtual reality effects.
“It was fantastic for Dexter to be able to help play a part in making the patient experience better for other children.”
Following a number of successful trials staff have proved using VR technology has huge benefits for patients, families and for our staff, saving time, money and most importantly ensuring children are relaxed, happy, and able to deal with a range of otherwise difficult procedures.
Because of this VR headsets have been introduced in a number of clinical settings, including cardiology, burns and oncology.
Chloe Dixon, the hospital’s VR play specialist, said: “Virtual reality is proving to be a fantastic tool to support children and young people with a variety of procedures, reducing anxieties and managing pain.
“The devices have shown to improve patient, family and staff outcomes, making the hospital journey relaxed, manageable and fun.
“I would also like to say a huge thank you to Dexter, his feedback was crucial in our decision-making and providing the virtual reality companies with new ideas.”
The Play and Youth Team, together with charitable support, is looking at filming hospital areas in order to create a virtual tour, which will be used to put children and young people at ease ahead of their visit.