Hi-Tech Play Helps Hospital Kids Heal


LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A hospital can be an overwhelming place – especially when you’re a child.  Often times it leads to fear or stress, which slows down healing.  Experts say play is what helps. A leading children’s hospital in California is listening and has created a hi-tech, interactive space where a kid can just be a kid.

Avalynn Wallace has found a haven in the hospital away from the constant swirl of doctors, chemo, and cancer.

“It’s fun and it actually gets me out of the room,” Avalynn detailed.

“It” is a new interactive center. It has everything from a story corner with a touch-free digital wall and broadcast studio.

Brianna Chambers of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, explained, “It’s a place where a kid can just be a kid. It’s a medical free zone. We get to play games and sing and dance and interact in ways that are really fun.”

Nicole Wallace, Avalynn’s mom, told Ivanhoe, “We’re not just confined to a 10X10 room. Whether it’s we’re here for a day or we’re here for months on end.”

Patients like Avalynn who have compromised immune systems get to play without fear in the center’s touch-free setting.

“It can really cater to the needs of all kinds of patients,” detailed Chambers.

Avalynn’s dad, Louis Wallace, Jr., said, “She’s hooked up to her IVs and you know when they’re disconnected it’s only for a few hours a day. It’s nice they let us out. She’ll get a break.”

Patients who have to stay in their rooms, can still be connected to the action through the broadcast studio donated by former 49er football player, Steve Young and his wife Barb.

“It really just helps them feel completely involved,” Chambers told Ivanhoe.

But for Avalynn and her family, it’s the music that has had the biggest difference.  It’s known music can reduce stress and pain in patients.  But for the Wallace family, it also is a chance to bond over a song that’s become their personal anthem: “Fight Song.”

Steve Young and his wife have introduced their music therapy studios to several hospitals across the country, including: Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and Mesa. However, the only broadcast facility they’ve donated so far is at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Rusty Reed, Videographer.

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REPORT #2570

HOSPITALS AND LONG-TERM CARE: Depending on a patient and their needs, it may be critical for them to be hospitalized for extended periods of time. Long-term hospital care can occur for on average 25 days or more. Many patients are transferred to long-term care hospitals (LTCH) from intensive or critical care units. These LTCHs specialize in treating patients who may have more than one possible serious condition, but they may eventually recover and be released to go home. During this long-term care period, the doctors, nurses, and family members of patients try their best to make it as easy on the patient as possible. Sometimes these patients are children. This concept of being in a strange room, surrounded by strange people as machines beep and people discuss treatment options can be terrifying for a young child. Things like television and handheld gaming devices may help their situation, but it can be a difficult for them regardless. This may cause them to suffer from stress and anxiety.

(Source: https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11347-Long-Term-Care-Hospitals.pdf)

 STRESS AND HEALING: Research suggests that stress can influence wound healing. Psychological stress can increase hormone levels in the blood, effectively slowing the delivery of certain compounds to an injury site during healing. If the process is slowed in the beginning, the wound will take much longer to heal, which can pose serious potential consequences for patients recovering from surgery. The findings show more insight into the concept that psychological stress causes physiological changes in the body, some if not many of which can influence and weaken a patient’s health. There is a lot of medical research that suggest patients should not be put under stress before a surgery, because depression, anxiety, and stress prior to surgery have also shown connections and association with poor post-surgical recovery.

(Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/07/990728073743.htm)

MUSIC THERAPY: Music therapy can be used in a medical setting to relieve patients from the physical and emotional stress of things like hospitalization, treatments, and therapies. It provides a positive and familiar way to cope for both the patients and their loved ones. Through these experiences, patients can regain a sense of  control, confidence, and independence. It can be a form of communication, and a medium used to refocus attention during painful procedures or long-term treatments. It is clinically recognized to influence biological responses such as heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, muscle tone, cardiac output, endorphin production and more.

(Source: http://www.musicasmedicine.com/about/mtinhospitals.cfm)

CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS: Over recent years, Children’s Hospitals are working to use the latest technology and innovations to improve patient care and spread this information across pediatric centers. For example, at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, researchers are working hard to push for more movement of their sickest pediatric intensive-care unit patients. From riding down the hallway on a scooter, to rooftop gardens and dressing dolls; JHCC’s PICU Up! program is based off research that shows kids sleep better each night and boast a faster recovery when they have the opportunity to just be kids. And a new device at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital is now combining two common scans, the MRI and PET, into one procedure for their patients. This means kids only have to go through one big stressful procedure, saving them a lot of anxiety. The first pediatric facility to obtain this kind of equipment, it is also decorated like a pirate ship and the patient can watch a movie while “onboard the ship” for treatment.

(Source: https://www.parents.com/health/doctors/10-best-childrens-hospitals/)

 * For More Information, Contact:

Samantha Beal, Director, Media and Public Relations

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

(650) 498-7056