WH Foundation 'Best Care' Grant

The Sunshine Paediatric Emergency Department have suggested the purchase of a SmileyScope virtual reality goggles set for our department, using funds from a Western Health Foundation ‘Best Care’ grant. The SmileyScope cost is around $5000.

Contribution to Best Care

The SmileyScope virtual reality goggles are an innovative tool for procedural distraction in children undergoing potentially painful procedures. The benefits are multifactorial, reducing the need for procedural sedation (particularly nitrous oxide), which also improves safety for staff performing potentially aerosolizing procedures. Virtual reality effectively engages children and can be used anywhere, reducing the need to wait for a treatment room to become available, improving patient throughput in a busy emergency department.

Process Change/Enhancement

The SmileyScope has a number of pre-defined settings that can be used for various procedures, including intravenous cannulation, intramuscular administration of medications or immunisations, through to port access. Through immersing the child in the virtual world, the procedures can safely occur with the child unable to visualize the scary aspects of the procedure, such as the staff member approaching with a needle. The SmileyScope is easy to use, easy to clean and can be adjusted for use on any child primary school age or above, with age-appropriate settings. This will improve procedural performance in children, reducing the need for sedation, which importantly improves safety for both staff and patients.

Measuring Change

The outcomes from the use of SmileyScope virtual reality goggles can be measured in many ways. The main expected findings include:

  • Reduced length of stay – from less waiting time for procedural sedation
  • Reduction in procedural sedation requirements – which increases safety for patients and staff
  • Higher patient and parent/carer satisfaction
  • Increased throughput – due to not needing to prepare patients for sedation and observe post

Excitingly, this presents an opportunity for a prospective research project assessing the benefits of the SmileyScope. Given this is a relatively new area of Paediatric acute care, it is anticipated that such a project would be able to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.