Virtual goggles a welcome distraction for children in hospital | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

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Virtual goggles a welcome distraction for children in hospital

02 March 2022

Thanks to the generosity of a group of Te Puke golf enthusiasts, the Children’s Ward at Tauranga Hospital can transport children undergoing stressful procedures to a whole new world with the donation of a new pair of virtual goggles.

Virtual goggles a welcome distraction for children in hospital
Pictured (from left) Play Therapist Debbie McDougal, Senior Constable Bruce Gordon, New World Te Puke owner John Gray and Ward 4A Clinical Nurse Manager Lynnece Dowle-Back with the new pair of virtual goggles kindly donated to the Tauranga Hospital Childrens Ward.

The goggles will be used for distraction purposes on Ward 4A, says registered nurse Alesha Williamson.

“Many children require invasive procedures throughout their admission and these procedures can often be traumatising. There are many studies from around the world that show how virtual reality can minimise the trauma for children, and even adults,” explains Alesha.

“We hope that we can take the children into a different and beautiful place with the goggles while we perform these procedures, ideally minimising any trauma. Often children have to have multiple procedures and can have significant anxiety prior to these therefore we always utilise our play specialists to make the experience as positive as possible.”

The virtual goggles, along with 100 bravery trophies, were donated to the Children’s Ward by Te Puke Police Senior Constable Bruce Gordon and New World Te Puke owner John Gray. The men, along with Tauranga Police Detective Rob McCaskie and Te Puke Orchardist John Cameron organise the Western Bay of Plenty Emergency Services Charity golf tournament in Te Puke every November and the Bay of Plenty community benefits greatly from their generosity.

Last November $34,000 was raised and the recipients included Pukehina Fire Department, the Pukehina Surf Live Saving Club, Te Puke St John’s, Te Puke Community Patrol, Matatā Fire Department, and the Western Bay of Plenty Police Welfare Fund.

Bruce said his granddaughter spent some time in hospital last year and he was thrilled to be able to give back to the department.

“It is a cause dear to my heart,” he said. “Everybody has a child or grandchild and I just wanted to do something for them, to help make their time in hospital better – anything to put a smile on their face.”

The golf tournament has been giving back to the community for four years now and is held on the last Friday of November.