Groundbreaking technology will offer the public a new innovative way to see inside a Worcester-based children’s hospice.
Acorns Children’s Hospice has launched a 360-degree virtual reality tour to give a more immersive introduction to its facilities and services as well as tackle common misconceptions about hospices.
The pioneering software was created in a collaborative project between the charity, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and developers Owl 360.
Users can explore the corridors of the charity’s Worcester-based hospice, Acorns for the Three Counties, and see its warm home from home environment for themselves.
Janine Warner, Deputy Head Nurse at Acorns for the Three Counties, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Owl 360 for creating this amazing new tool and we’ve enjoyed working with their teams to bring our hospice to life in this way.
“Not only will it help families new to Acorns feel like they’ve already been to our hospice before they visit for the first time, it will also give the public and our supporters, whose generosity enables us to continue our work, the chance to see the difference their donations and fundraising makes.”
The walk-through experience, which was funded through the NHS Trust, was created to help a family, who was unable to visit Acorns, ‘see inside’ the hospice
Catherine Binney, Paediatric Clinical Psychologist said: “The Orchard Service (Children’s Community Nursing and Palliative Care team) was keen to help one of their patients see Acorns to allow him choices about his care and reduce any possible worries.
“As he was not able to visit Acorns in person, we thought creatively and since our clinicians and digital team had already supported this young man with virtual reality experiences due to the limitations of his condition, a virtual reality tour seemed an innovative solution.
“Close collaboration between all partners involved enabled this patient and his family to experience the host of facilities Acorns can offer. We are very proud of the responsiveness of our staff and grateful to Acorns and Owl 360 who responded quickly to make this happen. We are delighted that this project will provide ongoing opportunities for other families in Worcestershire to have an immersive experience of what Acorns can offer at their warm and friendly children’s hospice.”
The virtual reality tour will be available to view on Acorns website. Care teams from Acorns and NHS children’s community nurses, meanwhile, will be able to ‘take the hospice’ to newly-referred families using a VR headset.
Janine added: “We know that for many families coming to a hospice for the first time can seem really scary and we want that to change. We want to show people that our hospices are special places that are full of life and friendly faces.
“This exciting new technology will enable us to do just that by making users feel like they are really here. They’ll be able to walk the corridors, go into bedrooms and see how bright and colourful our hospices really are, not the sad, gloomy places they might expect.”
Acorns Children Hospice provides specialist palliative care for babies, children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions, as well as support for their families.
In the past year, the charity has cared for more than 780 children and over 1,220 families, including those who are bereaved.
To take the virtual tour of Acorns for the Three Counties, please visit: www.acorns.org.uk/tour
Photo caption: A pioneering 360-degree tour of Acorns Children’s Hospice in Walsall has been launched.
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Notes to editors:
Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.
• It costs £27,000 every day to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities.
• To find out more about Acorns, please visit www.acorns.org.uk