Doctors: Virtual World—A Treatment Approach In Sick Children

Recommend to others!

Children are very vulnerable individuals. They most likely feel frightened and threatened especially when they are ill and hospitalized. Is there a way to improve the car delivered to this population? A virtual world is currently being designed by physicians, in a domed laboratory located in Canada. They have high hopes that someday, they will be able to use colorful avatars (toy-like medical gadgets) in the therapy of traumatized children.

A burn victim can feel as if she is inside a block of ice, with the use of sensory stimulation. Moreover, a child can forget that he is in the hospital, through 3-dimensional images of his bedroom at home. Patrick Dube, team leader of the medics from Montreal’s Sainte- Justine Hospital and Society for Arts and Technology’s software engineers, stated that a child with burns could better cope with pain when he is placed in a polar environment, beyond reality threshold. He added that cognitive illusions have consequences on pain perception.

The team designed a hospital room/ living lab at the Satosphere, an 18-meter wide/ 60-foot dome created to give spectators a 360-degree view of art projections. They aim to test new treatment approaches in that lab. Dube articulated, “We can, through multiple projectors, create immersive environments that integrate not only walls, but also the furniture in a room.”

Moreover, the doctors tried out a specific tool which can help them make medical gadgets appear like fantastical and non-threatening toys. In this way, this can aid the children in familiarizing themselves with the medical instruments, which are typically frightening for them, such as syringes. This can result to better coping with medical tests and therapies.

Maxime, 11, daughter of one of the researchers, expressed that she is no longer afraid of injections, since the syringe is modified to appear like a storybook rocket. Moreover, investigators are exploring if these avatars can someday assist doctors and nurses in relating with traumatized children, not usually at ease in communicating with adults. Indeed, such technology can be utilized to establish a child’s confidence and aid them to socialize better. Also, as a form of physical rehabilitation, the person in-charge of avatar control can instruct the child to imitate its movements.

According to Patricia Garel, head of Sainte-Justine’s psychiatry department, their very goal is the application of this technology to aid children. She further believed then even though this may just be in its initial stages, this can present great potential in the context of health care. Garel also said that virtual technologies may be detrimental at times in children’s interpersonal life (knowing that they are emotionally vulnerable), but if these are utilized properly, this can lead them back to their normal lives.




Speak Your Mind


Current day month ye@r *