Variety Children’s Hospital, Kings College Hospital, London, 06/12/2013.
3D Distraction Unit at Variety Children’s Hospital
Since its installation in Lion Ward’s treatment room, an innovative, interactive 3D distraction unit has helped to ease the stress and pain of medical procedures for sick children of all ages. An amazing pair of fundraisers made it possible.
How it works
By wearing 3D glasses, children can interact with a whole host of images and activities including an underwater world, butterflies and dinosaurs.
Consisting of a 3D projection screen, a headset and attachments that allow the user to control elements of the presentation, the distraction unit is designed to keep children’s attention completely focused on what is happening on screen. This distracts children when undergoing uncomfortable procedures like blood tests and spinal taps and makes it easier for them to keep still.
Helping children of all ages
According to Lion Ward play specialist Kelly Sibbons, children of different ages use the unit in different ways. The pre-loaded content includes simple games – like blowing bubbles underwater – and abstract short videos, which mostly appeal to younger children.
Older children and teenagers use it for watching 3D television programmes or films, thanks to a compatible Blu-ray player that was included with the wall-mounted unit.
Having the unit has made ‘a massive difference to the ward’, says Kelly. ‘It’s multisensory, and you can interact and take control of it, which is a big thing for patients.’
The unit is particularly useful in the evenings and weekends, when no play specialist is on duty.
‘Procedures go on all the time in hospitals,’ says Kelly, ‘The good thing about it is that it’s there 24/7. The staff have all had training in how to use it, so it is accessible at all times.’
The purchase of the unit was funded by the efforts of Meghan Frost and her dad, Marc. After being treated successfully on Lion Ward for a brain tumour, Meghan, who was then just 13 years old, decided she wanted to give something back. With the help of her dad, she began raising money to help improve the general wellbeing of patients on the ward.
During a visit to another part of the hospital, Meghan and Marc saw the distraction unit being used and decided they would like to raise the money to purchase one for Lion Ward. They took part in an abseil event at King’s and raised approximately £13,000 – enough to cover the cost of the unit.
Marc attributes their fundraising success to Meghan’s drive and initiative.
‘Meghan is quite an inspirational person,’ Marc says, ‘And she can be quite persuasive.’
Thanks to a series of additional fundraising activities – Marc, for instance, took part in a sponsored skydive and Meghan sold handmade cards – the pair have raised nearly £50,000 for Lion Ward – a remarkable total!
Meghan and Marc both say the distraction unit epitomises their efforts, because it is something that makes a big difference to the children on the ward, but could only have been made possible through external fundraising.
‘It’s an amazing piece of kit,’ Marc says. ‘It really does its job. They put their glasses on and it’s like they’re taken to a different world.’
It’s thanks to Meghan and Marc’s fundraising that we were able to buy the 3D distraction unit. If you’ve been inspired to fundraise for King’s College Hospital, find out more about how you can help.