Starlight Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering happiness to hospitalized kids and their families, is thrilled to announce the new iteration of the Starlight Virtual Reality (VR) program Introduced in 2018, Starlight VR transforms the hospital experiences for kids, providing a positive distraction and in some cases reducing the need for pain medication when immersed in a virtual experience.
The newest iteration of the Starlight VR headset provides inclusivity, entertainment, and endless possibilities for children of all ages.
For 18-year-old Amanda, Starlight Virtual Reality program was a major help to her when through treatment and recovery. She was suddenly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and hospitalized to begin treatment in 2020, her family was shocked. She required intense treatment. “It just took me to another world and let me be somewhere completely different,” Amanda told us. “Because I wasn’t thinking about everything that was happening and my body was just calmer.”
The updated version is wipeable, wireless and can be used anywhere, with or without Wi-Fi. With hands-free capabilities, patients with limited mobility can control their experience through eye movement or voice commands, so that every child can take control of their virtual adventure, making it accessible to all pediatric patients. VR experiences include tools for cognitive stimulation, relaxation therapy, mindfulness and more. Each session offers an opportunity for healing and growth.
Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, said, “We’re thrilled to introduce our updated VR program to help provide hospitalized kids with a positive distraction that transports them out of their hospital room and into a virtual world, where they experience some joy and comfort while coping with challenging procedures and treatments. The integration of gaze control and voice control technologies is a groundbreaking advancement, promoting inclusivity and equity for all patients with diverse abilities and needs, who may benefit from VR.”
Starlight’s VR program has impacted many pediatric units by helping kids relax during difficult medical procedures, distract from pain, aid in physical therapy and recovery, and in some cases even replace the need for general anesthesia!
“Starlight VR has had a major impact on our patients!” said Renee Provost, program coordinator at A Rosie Place Children’s Hospital. “It has brought them joy, has helped calm them if needed, and has created a positive experience for them. It’s taken away from their boredom here at the facility and has given them something to look forward to. When their time is up and we move on to the next activity, they want to come back to Starlight VR, and that is a gift, especially for our nonverbal patients.”
These VR Headsets are critical for child life teams who play an essential role in the care of pediatric patients, If you would like to transform hospital experiences of young patients in your community, you can donate headsets to your local children’s hospital, by visiting the Starlight donation page starlight.org/impact.