Going to the hospital for a broken bone, blood draw, or for a life-saving procedure is scary and stressful for kids. That’s how Starlight Children’s Foundation came to be. Their Starlight Xperience is helping them fulfill their mission to “create moments of joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families”.
VR Xperiences for Good
The organization is accomplishing what they set out to do and has been doing so for the past 35 years. Their newest endeavor, the Starlight Xperience, is a Virtual Reality (VR) initiative that’s currently helping millions of children get distracted during hospital visits and procedures.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo headset with Daydream is the peripheral that runs the 20+ VR experiences. The headset has games that are educational and entertaining. So kids with different preferences and needs can pick one they can really immerse themselves into.
Kids wear a VR headset while gaining age-appropriate content to view, listen, and play through. Kids get to travel using Google Expeditions and play Star Wars: Droid Repair (ILMxLAB). The best part is that kids and parents won’t have to pay a dime to use it at over 800 hospitals.
“We believe Starlight Xperience has the potential to transform the hospital experience for millions of seriously ill children and their families,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation.” This is an amazing gift for parents who might not have enough money to afford it otherwise.
Starlight Children’s Foundation is honored to be a part of a partnership with philanthropic donors like, “The Walt Disney Company, Google, Lenovo and Niagara Cares”. Helfrich shares he’s excited to be “unveiling this exciting new program, which is the latest evolution in our 35-year history of bringing innovative entertainment technologies to hospitalized kids.”
Hospital Care and Starlight Xperience
Patients also get to view relaxing and meditative experiences and games like Relax VR. This type of VR application is helpful in reducing stress before, during, and after visits and procedures. Above all, VR diverts children’s attention from seeing something traumatic and lowers pain sensations from blocking out visual stressors.
“Providing these unique entertainment experiences reflects our commitment to bring comfort during what can be difficult times for kids and families. This is part of our Disney Team of Heroes initiative, which includes a $100 million commitment to children’s hospitals,” said Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, Enterprise Social Responsibility for The Walt Disney Company.
Margolis further shares, “The collaboration with Google and Lenovo is the perfect blend of technology and content that we’ll be able to deliver to kids during their hospital stay.” Virtual Reality technology has been proven to reduce pain and anxiety in the medical setting, so having it in use for children is much needed.
Gunjan Shah, general manager for North America Smart Devices at Lenovo shares his belief that VR is “Helping to provide a solution for the children and their families” and that they can “truly make a difference for the better”.
While Chantel Barney, Ph.D., a clinical scientist who leads Gillette’s VR program believes that hospitals have been able to help “curb the anxiety and fears our kids typically experience during procedures […]” with the Starlight Xperience and that it’s a “wonderful distraction for kids and parents alike.”