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Preparing kids for surgery using Virtual Reality

Erasmus MC Sophia Children's Hospital is starting a project with Virtual Reality to reduce anxiety in children who need to undergo surgery.

moeder en dochterAbout 6,000 children undergo surgery under general anesthesia at Sophia Children's Hospital every year. Approximately 70% of these children feel anxious for the surgery, which is understandable. Anxious children are more likely to be restless, to cry more, and to be less cooperative after the surgery than children who are less fearful.

More fear also results in more pain after surgery and possibly also leads to the use of more painkillers than necessary. Moreover, recovery after surgery for anxious children is slower than for their peers who were not afraid.

Erasmus MC researchers want  to use Virtual Reality (VR) headset glasses to allow the children to walk through the various areas in the surgery facilities, such as the waiting room, operating room, and recovery room, and to the anesthetic procedure. A virtual nurse and virtual anesthesiologist will also explain the procedure. The researchers expect that this will make children feel more relaxed before surgery.  

The project kick-off will take place at Erasmus CM Sophia Children's Hospital on 15 March. At 3 pm, Dutch singer and presenter Jamai Loman will demonstrate the VR experience and perform a few songs.

Read the press release.

Date published: 9 March 2017.

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