A new game-changing therapy for sick kids

2 April 2024 | Expected time to read: 3 minutes

(Pictured: Lauren, Child Life Therapy Technology Specialist).

Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation (SCHF) has partnered with Child’s Play Charity (CPC) to reimagine the patient experience of sick kids in hospital. It’s thanks to philanthropic support that two Child Life Therapy Technology Specialists have been employed across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. 

These brand-new roles are the first of their kind in Australia and have seen the latest technology integrated into the Child Life Therapy teams at both Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.  

For sick and injured children who are admitted to hospital, technology can be a powerful tool for the imagination. It’s a short but effective escape from the unfamiliar sounds and foreign environment of a hospital and can also bring back a sense of control and empowerment for kids of all ages. 

Recognising the benefits of this innovative therapy, SCHF was thrilled to be the successful recipient of Child Play Charity's grant in 2023. It’s thanks to their generous three-year donation that the Foundation has been able to get the therapy off the ground 

Stream Team

Funds raised through SCHF's Stream Team are currently bridging the gap in funding and will eventually support the two technology therapist roles entirely. While Technology Specialists, Teneile and Lauren only started their new roles late last year, the difference it’s already making on the frontline of kids’ health across both hospitals is game-changing. 

Teniele, Child Life Technology Therapist

(Pictured: Teniele, Child Life Therapy Technology Specialist).

Teneile who works at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead says, ‘Gaming offers so much more than meets the eye! It can foster connectedness, collaboration, problem-solving, distraction and gives patients back some choices and control which they may at times feel they have lost.’’ 

Lauren who is Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick’s equivalent adds, “Bringing technology into the realm of Child Life therapy is the next logical step and reflects the role it plays in the ever-changing play context for children and young people.  

This role complements so much of the amazing work done by our team and is just another tool in our toolbox that helps support kids and young people during hospital admissions, which can often be a time of fear and anxiety.” 

Gaming therapy in hospital

Late last year, it was through gaming technology that Lauren was able to help a young patient overcome their fear of blood tests.

To help manage their anxiety, Lauren used Mario Kart Live to create a virtual hospital environment and take the patient on a journey from the waiting rooms to the pathology treatment rooms.

By using live images of the hospital environment in real time, Lauren was able to help the patient become more familiar with the setting and describe the steps involved within the procedure, so they weren’t facing the unknown.

To the family and Lauren’s delight, the therapy was successful and the patient was significantly less anxious on the day.

This is just one story of a child who has benefitted from the generous philanthropic support SCHF and Child's Play Charity.

If you have a passion for streaming and would like to help Teneile and Lauren continue to make a difference on the frontline of kids’ health, join our Stream Team today.

Stream Team invites our community of unstoppable changemakers to raise funds for sick kids by streaming fun and interactive content like podcasts and video games.  

Hosted on a fundraising platform known as Tiltify, you can register your stream today and go all in for kids’ health.

To learn more about Stream Team, click here.

Related Posts

ZERO Childhood Cancer Program

Raising Awareness for Neurofibromatosis - The NF Clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic condition that causes tumours to form on nerve cells throug...

Strength and Resilience

Meet Kiya, a rising star shining a light on Aboriginal kids’ health

Kiya Shipley is part of a talented new generation of Aboriginal Health Workers, bringing v...

Ocular Gene and Cell Therapies Australia

A Chance to Feel Special

A Movement of Many, fighting for the health and wellbeing of all children in an ever changing world.

See how the Movement of Many are helping sick kids

See your impact
Collage of Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation staff and donors making a heart symbol with their hands