Young people are being offered a virtual tour of Hull Royal Infirmary and Hull Women and Children’s Hospital to reduce any fears they may have about coming to hospital for treatment.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is using Little Journey, a smartphone app featuring games, animation and virtual reality, to tackle anxiety among young people coming to hospital for surgery or procedures.
Wearing special headsets funded by WISHH, the independent charity supporting hospital staff, patients and their families, after a donation from Skirlaugh RLFC, children will be able to explore the area they’ll be coming to so they know what to expect and what they will see on their visit.
Consultant Anaesthetist Dr David Wright, Director of Simulation at Hull Institute of Learning and Simulation (HILS), said the app has been developed to ease any fears and worries young people may have if they have to come to hospital.
He said: “Coming to hospital can be a stressful time for most people and having this app means children can use a medium they are familiar with including games and animations to tackle any worries or concerns they may have.
“Our virtual reality headsets mean children can explore our hospitals, familiarising themselves with what they might see and what to expect when they come here for their appointments.
“We think Little Journey creates an immersive, engaging experience that children find fun and can help to reduce anxiety.”
The app allows young people to explore both hospitals from the comfort and safety of their own homes, interacting with animated characters of hospital staff and learning about the different equipment they might see during their visit.
Parents are also offered tips on how to talk to their children about their forthcoming hospital visit on the app, with checklists on what you need to bring so families are prepared.
Surgeons and hospital teams are being encouraged to signpost families to the app, which can be easily downloaded by scanning a QR code on posters currently displayed in paediatric outpatient clinics.
Children attending pre-assessment appointments will also be shown how to access it and some families will receive access instructions in letters asking them to attend clinics.