Any parent who’s ever tried to get the attention of a child engrossed in a video game or movie can certainly appreciate the concept. Our new, multi-screen “Infusionarium” is an innovative video experience offering a welcome distraction for young patients undergoing treatments that often last for hours.
The CHOC Children’s Infusionarium is the first program of its kind to combine immersive video technology with life-saving infusion therapy, such as chemotherapy or IV antibiotics. Located inside The Dhont Family Foundation Outpatient Infusion Center (OPI) at CHOC Children’s, the jumbo screens and fabric-draped interior look more like a deluxe home theater than a hospital treatment room.
Each patient chair is equipped with a laptop, headphones and wireless keyboard. Up to four patients, age 2 or older, may play at a time, together across four screens or individually. Patients may choose from an extensive menu of video options:
- Watch popular movies
- Play favorite Xbox video games
- Skype with friends
- Take “live” virtual tours, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Surf the Internet, watch YouTube videos
- Check email
- Listen to music or podcasts using high-end, noise-canceling headphones
Parents may also use the Infusionarium to watch educational videos.
Therapy for Chemotherapy
The soothing space and mental distraction may help reduce the physical side effects of chemotherapy.
“One patient used to dread coming in for treatments due to intense bouts of nausea that required multiple medications,” said Leonard Sender, M.D. medical director of the Hyundai Cancer Institute at CHOC Children’s. “Today, when he undergoes treatment within the Infusionarium, he doesn’t even use anti-nausea medications.” Plans are underway to formally evaluate all possible patient benefits.
The Infusionarium was developed for CHOC by My Bridge 4 Life, a company that uses emerging technologies and digital media to create “immersive healing environments.” Founders Roger Holzberg and Allison Mills collaborated with Dr. Sender to launch a “pop-up” pilot Infusionarium at CHOC last summer. The results were so encouraging that CHOC moved forward with the new pod inside the OPI. Funding was made possible by proceeds from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K Run/Walk.