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VR technology is helping patients at Golisano Children's Hospital

Posted at 7:15 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 19:27:57-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Technology at the Golisano Children's Hospital is helping pediatric patients go on explorations, without ever having to leave the hospital.

It's all part of their virtual reality system.

The VR system consists of two headsets and a PlayStation.

One of the headsets is to play games, while the other takes kids on explorations.

"I like to go swimming on that one," said Sebastian Naranjo, nine-year-old boy who is battling leukemia at Golisano Children's Hospital.

The hospital's virtual reality system aims to release some of the stress and anxiety associated with being longterm patients at the hospital.

Shane Swartz recently joined the Golisano Children's Hospital as their first patient technology specialist.

Swartz uses the VR system to enhance the Children's stay through gaming and education.

"We just help them have a good experience here, normalize it, just make it as fun and normal as possible."

Swartz constructed a mobile cart to be able to bring this technology to kids throughout the entire hospital, especially the ones who cannot leave their rooms.

"If you can escape your hospital room and make it look like you're in the rainforest, or swimming with dolphins, the results are amazing," said Swartz.

Because of its immersive experience, the VR system helps distract the patients during treatments and helps them meet their physical therapy goals.

Sebastian has begun to use this technology during one of his treatments.

"He had some rough times prior to the virtual reality intervention, but when we put that on him, he was done the procedure and took it off and was like 'you're done already?'"

Swartz says he is in the process of teaching other staff members in the hospital how to operate the virtual reality system to help reach more kids.