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App gives children and families chance to prepare for surgery at town’s hospital

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Young patients can now go on a calming virtual tour of the children’s ward at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital to help reduce anxiety ahead of an operation.Using real photos of facilities, it takes viewers on a journey of the hospital and explains what to expect on the day of their procedure.Available for use on a smartphone or tablet, the app has been piloted in several NHS hospitals with great feedback from children and their families.

Paediatric staff showcasing the Little Journey app. From left to right, Chris Harrison, paediatric lead nurse, Day Surgery Unit; Steph West, staff nurse; Nicola Staff, ‪paediatric pre-assessment nurse; Victoria Howell, anaesthetic consultant; Sophie Carter, health play specialist; and Claire Burrell, play assistant

The Little Journey app gives children and their families the chance to prepare for surgery from the comfort of their homes, taking viewers on an online tour to Arthur Levin Day Surgery Unit, Rudham Ward, the anaesthetic room, and recovery areas and explains what to expect on the day of their procedure.It has been brought to the QEH thanks to funding from the King’s Lynn Hospitals’ League of Friends.Chris Harrison, paediatric lead nurse at QEH, and Dr Victoria Howell, lead paediatric anaesthetist, were integral in bringing the app to the QEH and believe it will “greatly enhance” young patients’ and their families’ experiences by making hospital “less frightening and more positive”.

A child with the Little Journey app

Mr Harrison said: “We are all really passionate about helping children and young people and their families be better prepared for surgery and less anxious before they visit us”Dr Howell said: “We are really excited to be able to roll out this brilliant app.“It will take children and their parents on a virtual journey through our ward and theatres, explain what will happen and talk about how they may feel.”

Rudham ward staff Claire Burrell, play assistant, left, and Sophie Carter, health play specialist, right, with the app

Little Journey was founded in 2018 by Dr Chris Evans and Sophie Copley.As an anaesthetic doctor and father himself, Dr Evans witnessed first-hand the distress experienced by children and families coming to the hospital for surgery.Reporting by Toma Toricina



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