All smiles for Smileyscope

Kids across the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN) are ocean diving with sea creatures, snuggling kittens at cat cafés and relaxing at the beach, all during their healthcare appointments!

Thanks to Coles and Curing Homesickness, we have purchased ten new Smileyscope goggles – taking WCHN patients on Virtual Reality (VR) adventures to relieve their stress, make their procedures more seamless and get them home quicker.

Jeanette Tininczky, WCHN Manager Telemedicine, explains, “These VR headsets have been invaluable in supporting our consumers through some challenging times.”

“Our clinicians tell us that they have been particularly helpful during needle-based procedures, including COVID vaccinations, and those that cause children some anxiety, such as dressing changes or fracture care.”

Smileyscope is a medical-grade VR goggle being used widely across Australian hospitals and clinics. Smileyscope has programs to support children and teens in a wide range of healthcare settings.

It has experiences that help keep patients calm and is used as a non-pharmacologic aide for pain and anxiety management.

It also has wellness and mindfulness content and deep breathing exercises for relaxation and wellbeing.

Tyler and Zara’s VR venture

Two children holding the Smileyscope googles at a vaccination clinic.

Tyler and Zara had a ball using these Smileyscope headsets.

Siblings Tyler (11) and Zara (7) visited the WCHN COVID Vaccination Clinic to get their first round of COVID immunisations and were very keen for a chance to explore the Smileyscope headsets!

Tyler was taken on an adventure through the ocean and Zara was amazed at the cliff she was looking down at from her chair. The pair were entertained and relaxed, meaning staff could complete their vaccinations with no fuss, making their appointment as quick and easy as possible.

Their dad, Chris, says, “They both loved the goggles. Zara said it was fun being in a virtual world!”

For situations such as these, clinicians can choose specially choreographed programs to reframe needle experiences. In an underwater scene, when the clinician applies antiseptic, a wave washes over the child to mimic the cold feeling of the wipe, and when the needle is inserted, fish are shown to nibble at them to simulate the pinch they may feel. This is hoped to create a more positive attitude towards needle procedures in the future for these children and prevent needle phobia.

The benefit of VR

Using Virtual Reality for paediatric patients has been found to reduce a child’s pain by up to 60%, reduce their anxiety by 40% and reduce the need for restraint by 48%, all of which will help save time soothing patients and reduce their time overall in the medical setting.

Jeanette says, “We’ve noted the VR headsets have reduced anxiety in our patients and has helped reduce the amount of time taken for some of these procedures.”

Coles and Curing Homesickness

Child using Smileyscope goggles

Zara completely absorbed in the fun of Smileyscope.

Funds raised through the sale of Coles ‘Mum’s Sause’ products and donations cards, as part of the Curing Homesickness initiative, have helped purchase Smileyscope headsets for use across the WCHN, including:

  • Paediatric Burns Service
  • Chronic Pain Service
  • Paediatric Rehabilitation Department
  • Outpatients clinics such as Orthopaedics
  • Haematology and Oncology Unit
  • Child Development Unit
  • COVID-19 Immunisation Clinic
  • Childhood Immunisation Clinic
  • Dental Services
  • Department of Paediatric Surgery
  • Medical Day Unit

Our CEO, Jane Scotcher, says, “The WCH Foundation is proud to partner with Coles through the Curing Homesickness initiative. We are so grateful for the ongoing generosity of Coles staff and customers who, through the purchase of ‘Mum’s Sause’ products and donation cards, help us support patients and families in hospital.”

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