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Virtual reality helps calm children in the ER, doctor says

Last Updated Dec 3, 2018 at 10:10 am PST

(Source: Screengrab YouTube video)
Summary

A doctor in White Rock says virtual reality can help when it comes to treating children in the ER

WHITEROCK (NEWS 1130) – There’s a cheap and easy way to make emergency rooms less scary and painful for children — at least according to some doctors in White Rock.

Physicians at the Peace Arch Hospital are using virtual reality as a distraction.

In a video, Doctor Amir Behboudi says the technology significantly lowers anxiety in young patients. He points to a recent example of a young girl whose chin he recently stitched up.

“She was crying in fear and when we put the headset, she was completely distracted. She was actually smiling and laughing.”

In a release, Behboudi adds “there are simple things we can do to completely change the way they react to pain and to the hospital. We can take their attention away from the pain with VR,” he explains. “We know that distraction works. The brain can get fooled when multiple inputs are coming in.”

Children and families are also able to play with an interactive robot, named Pepper, while they wait for treatment.

“Our dream is for kids not to be afraid when they visit the ER,” Dr. Behboudi says.

The headsets cost as little as $40 a unit, and is paired with a smartphone. Fraser Health hopes to have all of its emergency rooms equipped with this technology.

Dr. Behboudi says it’s a “no-brainer” when it comes to choosing to use this kind of technology, adding it’s cheap and doesn’t take a lot of time to use.

The first time he used VR as a distraction for children was last year, when a patient came in with a hand laceration over the winter holidays.

The young girl is said to have watched a roller coaster simulation at the time. According to the doctor, she was calmer, stayed still and was not scared or crying as a result.