Golisano chemo rooms use VR to make treatment a little easier for kids

COUNTY NECKLACE

A new one-of-a-kind treatment is ready to help children cope while receiving chemotherapy. Chemo is painful, draining, and often brutal for child cancer patients.

Dr. Emad Salman Chief Physician Executive, Golisano Children’s Hospital came up with an idea. At the Health Center in Naples on Pine Ridge, a totally immersive virtual reality treatment room is helping kids fight cancer.

He said “It can be very stressful for a child. Obviously, we have to use a needle to access the mega port or put an IV in some cases. That hurts so there is a level of anxiety and pain.”

With the virtual reality treatment tool you can play video games or be transported to the beach, outer space, and underwater. Speaking from experience, 16-year-old Jorja Miller has used the virtual reality room while receiving chemotherapy for stage four kidney cancer. “You can click the thing and the astronaut waves at you. Sometimes I’m waving and I’m like hey”

Dr. Salman explained “It is a distraction. No doubt about it but I think it is also probably a medical tour because I think it will help with the anxiety level.” Dr. Salman went on to say “So far the feedback we have had in the past two weeks since we opened has been very positive. Kids love it. They have described it as amazing. This is great. This is wonderful and when it is time for them to leave most of them don’t want to go home. They will stay because they want to continue to have fun.”

Golisano Children’s Hospital says right now they are the only hospital in the nation with a treatment room like this. The goal is to bring these virtual reality experiences to children’s hospitals everywhere. A local company called d3 Creative Studio designed the room for $150,000.

Jorja is optimistic about tools like this coming out to help kids like her. She said, “It’s going to change lives that I can already feel it.”

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