At Little Sparks we believe every child should have a positive experience during their visit to hospital.
At a young age, children are likely to face extreme anxiety during their visit to hospital, experiencing fear of the clinical environment, unfamiliar people and the fear of pain itself. We want to revolutionise the way children experience hospitals, empowering them and giving them the opportunity to have fun.
We’ve been working very hard on a variety of projects, collaborating with hospital staff, patients and parents to deliver products people love. Click on the icons below to find out more.
Using virtual reality to help prepare children before surgery!
Each year, over 500,000 children undergo planned surgery in the UK. Anxiety before surgery occurs in around three-quarters of these children, and is linked with short-term distress and confusion on waking up, as well as longer-term problems such as separation anxiety, nightmares and bedwetting.Little Journey is an interactive, virtual reality (VR) app designed to prepare children aged 3 to 12 years of age for day-case surgery. It has been co-designed by patients, members of public and the hospital multi-disciplinary team. It enables children to ‘visit’ the day case ward, anaesthetic and recovery rooms and interact with staff and equipment they’ll see on the day of their operation – all in the comfort of their home through virtual reality. It works to reduce anxiety levels by familiarising children to the hospital environments, equipment and staff before coming for surgery – so it is all less scary on the day of their operation!
The app can be tailored to any hospital in the United Kingdom, so where ever in the country the child is having their operation, they can explore the actual rooms they’ll see on the day of surgery.
Super gowns to empower children and allow them to fly through surgery!
Over half of children undergoing surgery develop significant anxiety during their hospital journey. Currently, children are made to wear gowns which leave them feeling exposed and uncomfortable. By insisting children must wear this gown, a strain is put on the relationship between the healthcare professional and patient.
Little Heroes was developed specifically for children aged 2-6 years of age, where increased anxiety due to a lack of understanding and critical thinking can lead to worsened outcomes from surgery. The garments’ sewing pattern has been co-designed by health professionals and patients at University College London Hospital, ensuring the highest quality ergonomic design, patient experience and dignity. The overall superhero aesthetic aims to empower children during a stressful time while offering a fun, engaging distraction – all leading to an improved hospital experience.
This project has been praised for its innovative co-design and functions:
New Designers Mars Design Thinking Award 2017 – Winner
New Designers Gleeds Associate Prize – Winner
And has gained support and coverage from the following:
Bringing fun and laughter to the anaesthetic room!
To have an operation, children and adults need to be in a deep sleep. This special type of sleep is different from your normal sleeping at home. It only happens when you have a general anaesthetic, which is when the anaesthetic doctor gives you medication to keep you fast asleep, comfortable and warm. There are two ways to give you a general anaesthetic, either through a soft breathing mask, or a cannula – a small bendy, plastic tube that sits in the back of your hand.
Some people feel very nervous about using the breathing mask and can get upset during the ‘going to sleep’ process. So, we have developed Little Toot, an interactive app that helps children by gamifying the use of the facemask. Little Toot will be ready for testing in Spring 2018!
Dr. Chris Evans is an anaesthetic trainee with an interest in children’s medicine, innovation and technology. He is passionate about co-design and has worked on multiple award winning healthcare products.
Sophie Copley is a multi-award winning product designer. Having recently graduated from Brunel University, she is focussing her talents on human-centred design techniques and real world problems.
Laura Henry is a freelance creative with 10+ years experience specialising as a Senior Motion Graphic Designer/Animator, Video Director & Photographer.
Flora Roumpani is an architect and a PhD candidate at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Her research includes studies in urban modelling, spatial analysis, 3D environments and geographic information systems.
Alexandros Bertzouanis holds an MSc from University College London (UCL) in Architecture and Computation. Having extensive experience in the construction industry, he explores the use of new technological advances, such as virtual reality, and their extensive applications.
Dr Ramani Moonesinghe
Dr Ramani Moonesinghe is consultant and honorary senior lecturer in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at University College London Hospitals (UCLH). She is Director of the UCL/UCLH Surgical Outcomes Research Centre and Health Foundation Improvement Science fellow.
GET IN TOUCH
Whether you want to chat about our work, give us some feedback or simply say ‘hello’. We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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