Speeding up recovery with interactive play

Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BCH) provides a comprehensive service to children, young people and their families. One of the leading paediatric teaching centres in the country, the BCH carries out internationally renowned research and development in many clinical areas including childhood cancer, nutrition, growth and metabolism; infant brain tumours; and studies into the efficacy, safety and optimisation of drug use in children.

With a 280 bed capacity for in-patients and day-cases, as well as an emergency department dealing with over 45,000 patients a year, the hospital is a very busy place and Jane Cotterill, Renal Services Manager on Ward 1, is always looking out for opportunities to provide the children in her care with new activities that they could do by themselves that would help with their recovery and stimulate them into doing more exercise.

After visiting the OM Interactive (OMi) stand at the Naidex show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, Jane was convinced that OMi’s interactive systems were just what they needed on the ward and that they could deliver really good benefits for her patients: “The systems offered something completely different to anything I’d seen before and one of the immediate attractions was that the kids would get a really exciting experience but there was nothing for them to break.”

The Renal Services ward installed the interactive projection system, OMi-Vista in its play area in 2009 and it has been used every day since. Jane says the system is so popular that if they haven’t switched it on then the children are coming to them and asking them to. This in itself is a major achievement as normally many of the children just lie in bed or go for little walks around the ward: “Post–surgery, many of the children have limited mobility and are frightened to move around as they think it will hurt. Jane explains. The OMi system has really helped with this as it is a real carrot to get them out of bed, which helps to speed up their recovery as the more they move around the better. Using the system is exciting and such fun that they forget all about the potential pain and are exercising without even thinking about it.” The system is used in structured sessions with a play worker Jenny Ralph.

However, Jane and her staff have found that one of the biggest benefits of the system is that the children can be left alone to play with it as it is completely safe. Also, as the system is so intuitive and reacts to the slightest gesture or movement, it is easy for all children to play and enjoy the interactive experiences.

Of all of the activities that the ward provides for the children, Jane believes the OMi interactive system is the best: “Even though we were excited about the systems when we saw them at Naidex we did have a few doubts about how they would work in reality but those doubts have been completely dispelled. We are really impressed with our interactive projection system and our expectations have been completely exceeded.”

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