While virtual reality can allow us to do things like slay dragons, drive a race car or become a ninja, it can also provide unique experiences for those who are disabled or have limited mobility.
Torrance, California based TrinityKids Care is using virtual reality to provide joy and excitement to seriously ill children and their families. Unfortunately, many of the kids are confined to their homes or hospital rooms. The technology gives them the opportunity to experience things that would otherwise be physically impossible. With virtual reality, the kids can fly to space, swim with whales and fight robots.
Part of Providence St. Joseph Health, TrinityKids Care is the only dedicated pediatric hospice program supporting Los Angeles and Orange counties. One of the largest providers of pediatric hospice in the country, TrinityKids serves infants, children and adolescents with life-limiting illnesses. The program provides service to 160 children on any given day.
Child of the Earth
One Providence patient’s “journey through space” was recently featured in Claudio Fäh’s short film “Child of the Earth”. 17-year-old Kevin suffers from advanced cystic fibrosis and is unable to leave his home.
By putting on a VR headset, he is able to go beyond the confines of his body and journey through space on a mission to the International Space Station. Oculus Touch controllers allow Kevin to interact with and move around the highly detailed station.
“When I go in there I just forget about what I have. When you’re up there(in space) you feel normal,” said the 17-year-old.
The film also features NASA Hall of Fame astronaut Scott E. Parazynski, MD and and Glen Komatsu, MD, Kevin’s doctor, and chief medical officer of Providence TrinityCare Hospice.
“This film was the result of generous donations from the LA film and tech communities, individual heroes from NASA, and a dedicated hospice team,” Komatsu said in a press release. “We are humbled that children such as Kevin can experience such wonderment through the caring of others.”
Virtual Reality Helping Treat Pain
Along with exploring the use of virtual reality for surgery and diagnosis, Hospitals across the country are are also testing VR to treat psychiatric problems, help women with labor pains and comfort children during routine blood draws. Studies show the use of the immersive tech can help mitigate pain.
If you are interested in learning more about TrinityKids Care please visit their website.