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Donation offers virtual reality support for Dunedin Hospital Children’s Ward

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More fun and games are promised thanks to a generous donation from Spark Health of a mobile phone to the Dunedin Hospital Children’s Ward to be used with their set of virtual googles.

Virtual reality goggles are used as a distraction technique for children undergoing procedures in the Children’s Ward and Children’s Outpatients. The mobile phone will provide multiple age and stage appropriate games for children to play. 

The use of the virtual googles reduces anxiety and supports play, both key for ensuring a safe health care experience.

“Personalised distraction strategies are developed with each child and their family. These are an important part of the Hospital Play Specialist’s role and also include the use of bubbles, toys, games, and play,” says Hospital Play Specialist Garry Goh. “The aim is to create a calm environment in which a child does not require sedation for a procedure.”

The virtual goggles have been used in the COVID-19 Vaccination Outpatients clinic where highly anxious and needle-phobic children have been successfully vaccinated.

“We are very grateful for this donation from Spark Health. Originally, we enquired with Spark Health to purchase a mobile phone for our service, so we have been very humbled by their kind donation,” says Mr Goh. “It certainly makes a difference to the care we can provide. Both children and their families enjoy the virtual googles and they assist in making what can be a stressful hospital experience, a nicer one.”

Ben Walker, Client Director at Spark Health visited the Children’s Ward to deliver the mobile phone. “It’s a delight to be able to donate this phone to Dunedin Hospital and assist in a small way to make a difference to children’s health care experiences.”

Mr Walker tried on the virtual googles and was impressed with the multiple games available to children.

“Spark Health focuses on the power of technology and we are proud to be able to work with our community to assist with making health experiences better.”