OUR MISSION

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.

CURRENT PROJECTS

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.

AWARDS

Little Sparks has already been praised and awarded for our efforts towards improving the hospital environment for children:

Heathrow Innovation Originality Prize 2018

AAGBI Innovation in Anaesthesia Critical Care and Pain Award 2018

Evidence Based Peri-operative Medicine Conference, Dingle, Ireland. Free paper prize for Little Journey App 2017

Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists Great Britain & Ireland, Bristol, UK. Free paper prize for Little Superstars 2017.

Alternative Doctors Innovation Award 2017

New Designers Mars Design Thinking Award 2017

New Designers Gleeds Associate Prize 2017

SUPPORT AND COVERAGE

Click the icons below to read more:

 

 

Using virtual reality to help prepare children before surgery!

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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.

A new version of the app is currently being developed with new games, videos and an emotional intelligence tool making the Little Journey app even better! It will be available in multiple languages with rewards and incentives to further engage children and aid their learning. Keep your eyes peeled for the new app – anticipated for release in September 2018.

This project has won multiple awards including the Innovation in Anaesthesia, Critical Care and pain award in 2018 and has been used in 16 countries around the world.

Super gowns to empower children and allow them to fly through surgery!

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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!

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To have an operation, children and adults need to be in a special type of deep sleep. This type of sleep is different from your normal sleep at home and only happens when given a general anaesthetic. This is when an anaesthetic doctor gives you medication to keep you fast asleep; they then stay with you to make sure you safe, comfortable and warm throughout the operation. 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 checks how well children are breathing in and out of the mask with games to play that can help children with this. It gamifies a medical procedure making it fun and relaxing.

Developed with Drakhshan Ahmed (Computer Science) and Hugo Ramsey (Product Design) from Brunel University, the app has won the Heathrow Innovation Originality prize 2018. the finished version is coming to a hospital near you soon!

 

Coming Soon!

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A Big Help!

It is common for parents of children having surgery to be anxious. This anxiety can impact on children’s fears about surgery and overall recovery. Typically, information is provided to parents about their child’s upcoming surgery through pre-assessment clinics and information leaflets. However, we know that large portions of information provided at the pre-assessment clinic is either forgotten immediately or remembered incorrectly.

BIG help support parents through their child’s surgery from contemplation to  full recovery by drip feeding information when its relevant to them and providing information tailored to their preferences. The app has multiple tools   to help manage and record their Childs pain and map their child’s recovery. The app is currently under development but will be ready in September 2018 to help parents through their child’s operation.

MEET THE TEAM

Chris Evans

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

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

Laura Henry is a freelance creative with 10+ years experience specialising as a Senior Motion Graphic Designer/Animator, Video Director & Photographer.

Flora Roumpani

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

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.

Oliver Binns

Oliver Binns is a software engineer with a particular focus on native mobile applications. Having recently completed his Master’s Degree in Computer Science at the University of York, Oliver is working to improve our Little Journey and Big Help products.

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 hello@littlesparkshospital.com.

Want to follow the Little Sparks Hospital journey to better patient experience? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram!