PATIENTS will have access to virtual reality headsets at St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s new paediatric surgery ward.
Twelve headsets, which cost $500 each, are programmed with relaxation videos and games to alleviate anxiety and provide children with entertainment when they visit.
Depending on the success of a three-month trial, the headsets could be introduced in other areas of the hospital.
“The goal is to enhance the patient experience and give an extra layer of comfort to our patients when they are vulnerable,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
“(The headsets) provide a valuable distraction from being in hospital and there is much evidence to show that happy patients heal faster.”
The new ward, which opened on Friday, is also full of contemporary Australian art chosen by children, with the majority of it donated.
Importantly, the number of beds has increased from 12 to 30.
With the previous paediatric ward too small to handle demand, chief executive Ben Edwards said the new facility would help meet the needs of families south of the river.
“Many families from the south are travelling north of the river to access surgery for their babies, children and adolescents,” he said.
“We already have fantastic paediatric surgeons, anaesthetists and nursing staff so with bigger and better facilities we will be able to provide excellent clinical care and support to more children and families in our community.”
The new ward will provide specialised paediatric surgical care to babies, children and adolescents under the age of 18, including ear, nose and throat (ENT), general surgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery, gastroenterology and urology.
ENT surgeon George Sim said the new ward would be convenient for local families and an important addition.
“The hospital will be able to provide a very comfortable environment for the children and support for their families as we understand hospital stays can be stressful at times,” he said.
St John of God officials did not say how much the new facility, a refurbishment of an old ward, cost.