Little Heroes Foundation

In South Australia alone, 60 children are diagnosed with cancer every year. Such a thing is almost unimaginable to most of us. There is one organisation that accepts that cancer, like all life-threatening illnesses, is a way of life for many families, and this is the inspiration behind Little Heroes Foundation.

Its funding programs are directed primarily to urgently needed medical facilities and treatment equipment, as well as ChildFamilyCare support programs relative to childhood cancer and serious illness.

In its 15th anniversary year, Little Heroes Foundation has contributed over $12 million to the Women’s & Children’s Health Network and other funding programs. One of its current projects is an Australian-first MRI suite upgrade to the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, including the Philips Ambient Experience and Philips Ingenia Digital MRI system.

Children who undergo an MRI scan at the hospital will now be able to personalise their environment and take control over what can be an intimidating clinical process, leading to a better experience for families and better clinical outcomes.

This is thanks to the Philips Ambient Experience, which integrates technologies such as lighting, sound and projection, together with architecture and design, to create an engaging environment that is more efficient for hospital staff, in addition to being less stressful for patients. Using a touchscreen tablet to set the room theme, soothing lights, visuals and sound immediately fill the room to soothe patients undergoing MRI examinations, which can be especially stressful for children.

Little Heroes Foundation has also contributed towards the installation of Australia’s first digital Ingenia MRI system that provides clearer pictures and a more comfortable patient experience with lighter and less obtrusive coils.

Dr. Rebecca Linke, Unit Head Paediatric Imaging at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide believes the Ambient Experience installation will provide significant improvements in patient care.

“It is going to transform the new MRI suite into a more comfortable, less intimidating place by providing a positive distraction for young patients, as well as a more efficient workplace for hospital staff,” said Dr. Linke. “The MRI process can be very scary for children and the ambient system will help entertain and relax the patients. The goal is to reduce their anxiety so we can perform the examination quickly and easily.”

The Philips Ambient Experience has been proven at over 266 sites worldwide to reduce anxiety and the need for sedation. One study reported a 16 per cent decrease in sedation rates for the overall paediatric population aged 0-18 years, with a 28 per cent reduction amongst 0-4 year olds. This can reduce the time required for an MRI scan from four hours with sedation, to only 30 minutes without[1].

Click here to donate to the Little Heroes Foundation. Funds currently received are being directly channelled into a $3.5 million commitment to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network for the Michael Rice Centre for Haematology and Oncology, the new MRI Machine and the Child Family Care Program.

[1] Szumanski K. Horton R. The “ambient experience” pediatric patients and diagnostic testing. Nurs Manage. 2007 Jan; 38(1):32-5

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