VR to help children having surgery at Sheffield Children’s

The Little Journey smartphone app is allowing children awaiting surgery to explore Sheffield Children’s and prepare for their visit all from the comfort of their own home.

Created by Little Sparks, app has animated doctors, nurses and anaesthetists to show children around the hospital and explain what happens when you come to the hospital for surgery - beginning in the waiting room right through to the operating theatre.

The app is available free of charge and is aimed at children, young people and their families, hoping that the app can make the idea of coming to hospital more manageable by explaining things and making the spaces more familiar. Little Journey provides 360 degree views of all of the actual areas patients will visit at the hospital, with commentary tailored to the patient’s age.

Dr Nina Plant, consultant paediatric anaesthetist at Sheffield Children’s, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer this app to patients of all ages. The run up to having surgery can be a stressful time– this wonderful app allows patients and families to understand what will happen when they come to the hospital and what it looks like before they come in. We hope that this will educate patients and families about the process, lower stress and anxiety when they come in for surgery. Overall, we hope it makes their experience here easier and more relaxed.”

Every year, Sheffield Children’s sees 10,000 patients for planned surgery. The app is already used in other trusts, and the Sheffield Children’s app is adapted just for the children and families it serves.

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