Staying in a hospital can be a scary experience for kids, but a little distraction can make it less stressful. According to studies conducted by Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, UK, distracted patients have an easier time with their appointments and require less pain medication. (source: https://alderhey.nhs.uk/research/childrens-nursing).
XR experiences are so new and immersive that kids pay attention--they focus on the XR and not on the unpleasantness of the situation. This is highly effective for blood draws, dressing changes, sleep study prep, and many other situations where kids have difficulty cooperating with treatment, either because it is painful and scary or long and boring.
Huibert de Jong (projectleader Xtend)
When we are designing children’s hospitals, we tend to focus on how to make the medical environment seem more like home for young patients and their families. What has been less well considered, until now, is how we can use smart technology and design to help children engage in their own treatments in subtle yet empowering ways.
Clinicians tell us it can be difficult to prepare children for surgery and other medical procedures. They tend to rely largely on bedside conversations in the run up to treatment to gauge their young patients’ wellbeing and state of mind. Yet children often find it hard to express how they are feeling, particularly to adults they are unfamiliar with.
That’s set to change, thanks to the increasing popularity of wearable technology and handheld devices. Children use this type of technology for play, and learning at school, so inviting them to use it to become involved in their treatments is a logical step. (source)
It’s been proven that patients experiencing XR have reduced perception of pain while immersed in virtual worlds. With the help of extended reality, a two-year-old can fly through a blood draw without tears and a young boy can laugh through a catheterization.
Using XR to reduce the necessity of drug intervention for pain management is one of its most impactful applications.