Young Patients Find Solace at Virtual Hospital

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February 15, 2015

A virtual hospital has been putting children at ease for nearly a decade, and the organisers say they have plans only to expand it.

The Sweden-based Anaesthesia Web was the creation of Gunilla Loof (left), a nurse at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, the country's largest hospital. The site features cartoons, games, and videos designed to help children feel at ease before spending time in the Stockholm hospital. 

The website has a virtual host, Doctor Safeweb (right), who introduces the features of the website.

One example for children awaiting X-rays or MRIs is the story of Ville, a 10-year-old wild boar. The animated story explains how Ville will have to stay very still on a bed while people take pictures of his insides. Children who have watched such videos have reported feeling more in control (and less scared).

The textual material spans 27 languages. Video material is available in Arabic, English, Spanish, and Swedish.

The site, begun in 2006, reports monthly visits in excess of 15,000, from other countries as well as from Sweden. Loof has regularly updated the material on the site, donating her time along the way.

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David White