Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, 2211 N. Oak Park
Ave., offers kids care at no charge and runs strictly off
donations. To donate, visit support.shrinershospitals.org.
Surgery is a scary thing for anyone to face. But for a child, it
can be one of the most frightening experiences they've ever
Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago has discovered a way
to help reduce the fear and anxiety kids experience when facing
tough medical procedures: an app for Apple's iPad tablet
Kia Ferrer, child life specialist at Shriners, developed a
program that virtually walks patients through their treatment.
"With Keynote, an iPad application similar to PowerPoint,
children are able to slide through pictures of what will take place
from admission to discharge," she says. "With this device I can
explain surgery preparation through pictures and age-appropriate
Shriners-Chicago specializes in orthopedics, spinal cord injury
and cleft lip and palate care. The hospital acquired two iPads last
November, and buzz about the program spread quickly.
"It's terrific," Shriners spokeswoman Cathleen Himes says. "They
have different exercises they go through with them about pain and
what they're going to see. It's like, 'First you're going to go
into this room and then you're going to meet this lady.' It eases
the tension and it works."
The program is geared toward children 3 and up.
Prior to using the iPad, Ferrer used books with pictures
of different rooms at the hospital.
"The iPad has revolutionized the way I teach because it's
more of an interactive tool," Ferrer says. "Most children love
technology so they're very attracted to this new and neat little
computer that shows them the steps of their hospital
Shriners-Chicago leads the way in using state-of-the-art
technology for its treatment and rehabilitation care. In addition
to the iPad program, the hospital also houses the Pediatric Lokomat
and a new Motion Analysis Lab.
The Lokomat is a robotic treadmill machine that helps
patients with neurological impairments improve their gait and
independence by allowing for more range of motion than other
The Motion Analysis Lab is an 1,800-square-foot laboratory
with a 40-by-24 foot walkway that specializes in the systematic
measurement of motion and forces during walking. Fourteen
infrared cameras surround the walkway to provide a 3-D
assessment that surgeons, engineers and therapists use to refine a
patient's diagnosis and treatment.
Ferrer hopes to incorporate even more technology in the
"We have a room for children that has game consoles and a
widescreen TV and we would love to update it with Apple computers
that have web cameras for video chat," she says.
She says the hospital attracts patients from all over
the world who could keep in touch with their families from home,
which would provide emotional support during their stay at
Jaclyn Gray writes for the Medill News Service.
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