A scan in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine can be a scary experience for anyone, but especially so for kids, so this Barcelona hospital decided to make it into a space age adventure instead. When having a scan these days, it’s like entering a spaceship and heading off to the stars.
A necessary part of experiencing a scan in an MRI machine is to try and keep perfectly still. With the noise of the equipment and the confined space, this is difficult even for adults, but for a child it can be really scary. On top of this, the experience often causes nausea and dizziness in children and babies, only adding to the discomfort and they often need sedation while undergoing the scan.
Because of this the Sant Joan de Déu hospital in Barcelona, Spain, working closely with the American IT and printing company HP, have come up with the very best high-tech solution to the problem. They have turned the MRI room, along with the rest of the pediatric unit, into one great big, colorful space experience and so far, by calming the children’s nerves in this way, the hospital has reduced the usage of anesthetics in younger patients by 18 percent. The kids themselves appreciate that having an MRI has become a space age adventure in the Barcelona hospital.
Doctor Terasa Maristany of the hospital told the local Spanish media that radiology units are always very intimidating for children. The patients always feel anxious and find it hard to cooperate with the doctors. She said in the past they often had to use sedation to manage the tests and scans, but now with the children so fascinated by their surroundings, they are far more cooperative and are definitely less scared by the experience.
HP has transformed the once plain and white walls and bland interior into a colorful and fun universe with planets, stars asteroids and astronauts. They used the latest in latex printing to accomplish this, as demonstrated in the video at the end of this article. This printed material is completely washable, suitable for a germ-free environment and is also odorless and environmentally friendly.
Eva Blanco, HP’s communications manager, explains in the video how they wish to make the kids believe they are a member of the spaceship crew, preparing for launch on an exciting expedition into space and so far, this seems to be working well.
The Sant Joan de Déu hospital performs approximately 6,000 MRI scans and around 5,000 CAT scans on both children and adolescents every year and this new environment can only help the situation and make it more enjoyable for the patients involved. In fact, adults would probably enjoy the experience too and find it more calming than the normal hospital environment.
The video below shows both the printing procedure and the results in the hospital itself and in the description under the video on YouTube, HP gives more information about the process. Possibly other hospitals will soon follow suit in making an MRI scan into a space age adventure for kids, as shown in this hospital in Barcelona.
By Anne Sewell
El Periodico (Spanish language)
Photos: Fair use screen capture from YouTube video