News, NHS trust

Barnsley Hospital launches smartphone app offering animated tour for children having surgery

Barnsley Hospital has launched a smartphone app which offers children waiting for surgery a virtual tour of the hospital from the waiting room to the operating theatre, featuring characters such a koala nurse and a rhinoceros doctor to help children feel “comfortable” before their procedure.

The Little Journey app has been designed for children aged three to 16, offering insight into the different areas of the hospital as well as video guides explaining everything they might want to know about surgery. The app also features resources for parents with information that they might find useful, checklists, and details of a breathing exercise designed to aid relaxation.

Dr Andy Leeson from Barnsley Hospital highlighted that for children and parents coming into hospital, the “biggest source of worry” is around knowing what to expect when they arrive. He said that the virtual tour “helps to simplify this by allowing them to explore the actual setting they will be coming to with each step along the way being explained to them in ways they can understand with friendly characters. Combine this with a VR headset and they can feel like they are actually here. Also once the date of a child’s procedure is entered to the app they will receive helpful messages to help them get ready for coming to hospital and advice once their procedure is over.”

The Little Journey app is available to download for free from the Google Play and Apple App Store.

In related news, Barnsley children’s and adult’s speech and language therapy team at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is utilising virtual reality software with the aim of supporting children and young people who stammer, providing them with an immersive environment in which to practise “everyday speaking situations in a safe space with the support of a therapist”.

Last year, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also partnered with OX.DH in a case study published by Microsoft, testing the deployment of Microsoft technologies for video consultations, with the aim of delivering a “familiar, intuitive, integrated and easy-to-use solution”.