Lurie Children’s Presents Children with an Opportunity to Virtually Escape from ICU

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For the very first, patients in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) will have the opportunity to scuba dive, snowboard, and go on numerous ventures, right from their hospital bed. The engagements into the virtual environments were tremendously well received by the patients and parents, according to a study from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. There were 32 participants in the research, aged between 3 and 17 years. All the patients and their parents gave positive feedbacks, with more than 80% stating how the VR experience comforted their child.

“We conducted this study to make sure that it is feasible to introduce virtual reality into a pediatric intensive care setting and that kids respond well to it,” stated the senior author Marcelo Malakooti, MD, from Lurie Children’s. He is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics-Critical Care at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We are now introducing virtual reality more broadly to critically ill children on the unit who are often alert, but stuck in bed just passively watching TV. Such minimal engagement with their environment over prolonged hospitalization can lead to delirium or other cognitive and emotional impairments. We hope that the stimulation and interaction that virtual reality offers will mitigate that risk and improve outcomes for these children.”

After the encouraging results from the research, Dr. Malakooti, lead author Colleen Badke, MD, and also colleagues at Lurie Children’s, are carrying out greater research to observe how VR utilization in the PICU effects pain, anxiety and other physical factors including blood pressure, heart rate variation, etc.

Study at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is carried out by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is motivated on refining child health, changing pediatric medicine and guaranteeing healthier futures through their unrelenting search of knowledge.