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Minor invasive procedures such as blood draws, cannula insertion and catheter insertion can be extremely stressful for children, their family members/ carers and Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) staff. While these procedures are not generally associated with large amounts of pain, the anxiety leading up to, during and following the procedure can be challenging and overwhelming for all involved. Regular repeated procedures in childhood can impact the development of the central nervous system and have been demonstrated to decrease pain tolerance, increase anxiety and heighten pain responses into adulthood.

Rachel a WCH consumer whose daughter  attends the hospital for treatment decided that something had to be done to make these procedures less stressful for all involved. After attending a tech conference which introduced her to virtual reality (VR) technology used with children to reduce pain and anxiety during procedures, Rachel found the solution to what she had been looking for.

As part of her daughter’s treatment Rachel trialed the VR system for one of her regular blood tests. The results were amazing with her anxiety reduced, no additional restraint techniques required and there was no tears. As a result Rachel, with the support of the WCH Dialysis Unit applied for funding through The Friends of WCH Passion Project scheme, which supports initiatives that focus on person and family centred care.

The aim of the project is to evaluate the use of the Samsung Gear VR technology as a distraction tool for children, aged between five and seventeen years, during procedures in the Dialysis/Medical Day Unit of the WCH. Evaluations will occur over a three month period and will involve the completion of surveys by the child, family members and staff following the use of the VR technology.

The Friends are pleased to be able to support such an innovative project which improves treatment options for SA children.

This is one of four successful projects selected each year.