Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) understands that it’s important for kids to be kids, even when they’re in the hospital. So they created the Child Life Program to help young patients prepare for procedures, develop coping strategies and find ways to make medicine fun—all while helping to reduce children’s anxieties and support healing during hospitalization and illness.
The program includes the Child Life Zone, a state-of-the-art play area chock full of amenities that provides an escape for patients and their families from daily life in the hospital. The 3,800 square foot, procedure-free area gives patients a safe place to forget about being in the hospital for a little while and just be kids.
The Child Life Zone is made possible by a generous endowment from Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation, a network of over 3,000 professional athletes, which provided funding for the construction of the Zone. 100% of the money raised by the foundation goes to children’s charities with all overhead costs being paid by the members of the organization’s board.
The child life specialists at PCH have been using Ohmni telepresence robots in the Child Life Zone for almost 2 years in ways distinct from traditional telehealth and telemedicine. They are incredibly helpful for kids who cannot leave their hospital room to play in person in The Zone. “The OhmniLabs robots have been invaluable! “Garth” and “Ms. Yearwood” are used daily,” says Jason Grahame, President of Teammates for Kids.
How to Use Ohmni for Hospitalized Children
There are so many fun, meaningful and creative ways to use the Ohmni telepresence robots with hospitalized children beyond telehealth and telemedicine. Below are some examples of how PCH uses Ohmni.
1. Ohmni robots are utilized for teaching and relaying information. PCH also uses the JustTalk app, which is installed on our patient iPads in every room.
2. Patients can be guest hosts on CLZTV, the hospital’s own closed-circuit television network.
3. Guest hosts from our community (such as sports teams) “beam into” our robots when we give them access through the share feature. Below is a video with professional soccer players Jordan Schweitzer and Joey Calistri competing in a virtual one-on-one match through Ohmni.
This should make @espn SportsCenter’s highlight reel! ⚽️
Thanks Jordan Schweitzer and @jcali10 from the @PHXRisingFC for making our patients’ day! #clzone @teammates4kids @PhxChildrens pic.twitter.com/VEJP51Z9Xy
— Child Life Zone Phx (@clzonephx) April 17, 2020
4. Recently a talented artist “beamed into” a robot to draw caricatures for patients. The kids were thrilled to show him some of their own drawings, too!
5. Patients visit The Zone virtually to do scavenger hunts, find Easter eggs, complete obstacle courses, explore 3D printing, use the photo booth, race, play games like Giant Connect 4 and Hide-n-Seek, and more!
What is next for Ohmni Robot in the Zone? PCH is in the process of creating a robot commercial to play on CLZTV. And they’re also planning a virtual fire station tour where Ohmni will navigate to the fire station directly behind the hospital. We love the creativity and enthusiasm of experts in the Child Life Program. They love their work and it shows!