The children’s unit at Royal Preston Hospital have asked if we can help fund a Virtual Reality (VR) headset to be used across the ward and the paediatric assessment unit (day cases). A VR headset is a head-worn apparatus that completely covers the eyes for an immersive 3D experience. For example, you might experience swimming with dolphins in an underwater setting, which feels as if you are really there, and is very relaxing. Using virtual reality as a form of distraction therapy reduces pain and improves the hospital experience for children and young people who are undergoing uncomfortable or painful procedures such as blood sampling, joint injections, dressing changes, cannulation, surgical procedures, lumbar punctures, urinary catheters, and others.
Through providing distraction and relaxation, the VR headset will help children cope with pain and contribute to a better experience of treatment. It will also reduce anxiety, stress and isolation, and improve emotional wellbeing, which in some cases can even eliminate the need for sedation and analgesia. The headset would benefit at least 12 children every day from across Preston, Chorley, and South Ribble. It would have the most impact with children aged six and above, as by this age they may be more anxious as they develop greater awareness of what is happening.