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New Alternative Focus Technologies Help Young Patients Cope with the Emotional Side of Being Hospitalized

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Oct. 20, 2015 – Patients at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, will have extra help and attention in their care and recovery thanks to new technology and the generosity of others.

Both a robot and a 3-D sensory unit will help these young patients feel less overwhelmed when it comes to the medical conditions and procedures they face.

Brenner Robot arrived this month and is programmed with cognitive-behavioral strategies to coach patients through painful or stressful procedures. The 2-foot-tall, 11-pound robot can also speed recovery after surgery by motivating children to get out of bed. Brenner can be used for education, presentations and entertainment and plans to sing to patients on their birthday.

Brenner is a MEDi Robot made by RxRobots. Brenner Children’s is the first children’s hospital in the country to have a MEDi Robot available to use with all patients as needed. Brenner even has his own employee ID badge just like the rest of Wake Forest Baptist’s staff.

The MEDi Robot at Brenner Children’s was made possible by a donation from the Kurtz Family Foundation, which is based in Lewisville, N.C., and has a long history of support for Brenner Children’s. Arthur Kurtz and his wife, Suzy, saw the MEDi Robot in a television news segment as it was being used in Canada and wanted to help bring the technology to Brenner Children’s.

Known as alternative focus technologies, both the robot and 3-D sensory unit relax patients and offer them a calming environment in what can be a medically overwhelming time for children.

Created by Amazing Interactives, the portable 3D Interactive V-pod Sensory Unit projects images accompanied by soothing music throughout an exam or procedure room. During procedures, children can fly with birds and butterflies or take a hot air balloon ride with a hippo. These young patients can simply enjoy the interactive 3D effects or control them with the help of additional hand-held devices.

The V-pod was made possible through the efforts of Christin Siscoe, assistant nurse manager at Brenner Children’s who requested the device on Anddit. A new crowdfunding website, Anddit puts those in need in touch with others who are willing to provide help.

Just a day after Siscoe posted on Anddit, she was contacted by Joey McMahon the founder and CEO of The Monday Life, a national non-profit organization that works to improve the environment inside children’s hospitals. With funding from The Monday Life and other donors on Anddit, Siscoe raised enough funds to purchase the device.   McMahon and the V-pod’s inventor plan to deliver the device to Brenner Children’s later this month. 

Video of the robot and VPOD system are available for download.

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