A new Nintendo Switch Handheld game system is helping to distract and sooth pediatric patients at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
The Red Deer hospital recently received the gaming device, sponsored by the Ardene Foundation, through the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada.
Foundation executive director Trevor Dicaire said the gaming device can go anywhere in the hospital a child could go — from patient rooms to pre and post-operative units.
“It really allows kids to feel some normalcy, some distraction, some happiness while in hospital when normally times are often not very good and very scary,” Dicaire said.
The 2022 Nintendo Switch Handheld program is the foundation’s latest edition of its distractive entertainment program launched a few months ago.
“Red Deer was one of seven hospitals in Alberta that received a unit. We had over 300 requests from hospitals across the country. We’ve just finished placing our 100th unit.”
Dicaire said program was launched at a useful time for hospitals which have been seeing many more pediatric patients recently.
Preloaded with hours of endless entertainment, the gaming devices are infection-control friendly, with all surfaces wipeable.
For over 30 years, Starlight says it has witnessed first-hand the power of distraction as a sick child copes with stress on both their physical and mental health. A 2019 medical study published in the National Library of Medicine found that virtual reality is an effective distraction intervention to reduce pain and anxiety in pediatric patients undergoing a wide variety of medical procedures.
He said Starlight programs have supported Red Deer’s hospital over the years thanks to local sponsors. Central Alberta residents can also visit www.starlightcanada.org and support programs that benefit the local hospital.
“Anyone who is interested in helping seriously ill children, whether they be hospitalized at Red Deer regional or in the area, they can always go to www.starlightcanada.org and look at our programming. There’s an opportunity to make a donation and make it count in your own community,” Dicaire said.
Ardene Foundation has sponsored a total of 54 game devices for sick children to use in hospitals all across Canada.
“Ardene and Starlight have partnered together for many years now, and we continue to be honoured to support these incredible programs that uplift the lives of sick kids and teens across Canada. Through our work together, we hope to continue to do good by delivering distractive entertainment – and moments of joy – to those who need it most,” said Ardene Foundation in a statement.