Acorns Children’s Hospice is using the very latest in cutting-edge technology to help open-up new worlds of experience for local children.
Pioneering equipment, provided by technology charity Lifelites – gives life limited children cared for at Acorns the opportunity to communicate and have fun, regardless of ability.
Recently, staff and children at Acorns for the Three Counties, Worcester had a chance to try-out a brand new batch of interactive technology, as Lifelites donated the latest package of life-changing equipment to the hospice.
Among the items delivered on the day was an EyeGaze – innovative eye-tracking technology, enabling children to play games and communicate with friends and family; and a Magic Carpet – technology which allows children to interact with moving patterns and shapes projected onto different surfaces.
Becky Hughes, Hospice Matron at Acorns, spoke about the huge benefits the donations bring. She said: “The technology provided by Lifelites is just wonderful. Many of the Children we care for have complex care needs and may be limited in-terms of movement. This donation gives them opportunity to do things or experience life in ways they or their family never imagined.
“The equipment truly makes dreams come true and we’re so grateful to Lifelites and the donors who support their work for making this a reality. It makes a huge difference and we can’t wait to introduce the technology to more children and families who use Acorns.”
The technology, maintenance and support, which Lifelites provides for free, is worth over £50,000 over four years, before a new bundle is donated with the latest hardware and software. A team from Lifelites visited the Bath Road hospice to present the new equipment and offer training to Acorns staff and volunteers.
Lifelites chief executive, Rob Lightfoot, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Acorns Children’s Hospice. As the needs of the children and families using their services change and become more complex, Lifelites has responded by providing an extensive package of the latest assistive technology.
“With almost 25 years’ experience, we know that these technologies will empower children and young people with life-limiting conditions to engage and interact with the people they love and enjoy the world they live in. We hope that this support helps them to create many joyful memories.”
Other items donated to Acorns included ‘PODs’, a portable multisensory tent featuring colourful lights and music; specially adapted iPads loaded with bespoke games and apps; and adaptive controllers to enable children of all abilities to use and interact with the equipment.
Lifelites has donated equipment to every children’s hospice in the British Isles for more than 20 years and continues to provide new technology and ongoing support to ensure that children in hospices have a chance to escape the confines of their conditions.
Acorns provides specialist palliative care for babies, children and young people and support for their families across Herefordshire and Worcestershire and the wider West Midlands region.
In the past year, the charity has cared for more than 700 children and almost 1,000 families, including those who are bereaved.