LEE COUNTY, Fla.- There's a new tool helping patients cope with pain at the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida.
It's called a VECTA machine, and it engages the child's sense to distract them from what can be a scary stay in the hospital.
The hospital bought three machines a few months ago for about $4,000 a piece. Doctors say they are also good tools for young patients with autism.
The machine has a variety of features all designed to help put children at ease while at the hosptial. It has colored lights, bubbles, fiber optic cables, sound and more, all on one machine.
Child life specialist Shane Rafferty says he sees a big difference in patients who use the machine. "We use it for any invasive procedures we do with our patients or just helping to create a nice, calming environment. I've definitely brought in kids nervous about procedures and then it kind of all melts away and they get to be a kid again." Rafferty says it's a good tool for parents too. "Kids love it but parents love it too, they are also typically pretty stressed when they come to the hospital so having soft music playing and the lights they get to relax and watch their kids have fun as well."
Medical Director for the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida, Dr. Emad Salman says, "distraction has been shown to work so you can make it less painful and more tolerable. So this is one more piece of equipment and tool to provide great care to our kids." He adds, "its' mesmerizing. It's fun to look at, and the fact that you can control some of the things helps as well because you feel like you are in control and your attention is on making the machine work, not what the nurses are doing."