iPads in the Emergency Department Offer Entertainment and Comfort

In the Pediatric Emergency Department at Stanford Hospital, each of the nine rooms now has an iPad dedicated for patient use. While many parents may have concerns about their kids plugging into screens and zoning out—in the emergency department that tendency has an entirely beneficial effect.

“When the iPad came out in 2010, it was immediately clear to me,” says Bernard Dannenberg, MD, director of the Pediatric Emergency Department. “One iPad is worth 10 milligrams of morphine.”

Dannenberg describes the first time a child came in needing trauma care and was offered a personal computing device—in this case an iPhone. “She was brought in by the paramedics bruised and injured. One of the paramedics gave her his iPhone. She was so mesmerized with it, we could easily do everything we needed to do for her, like starting her IV. Later, the Child Life Specialist came in and offered her an iPad. She grabbed it and for 20 minutes was completely focused on it. I said, ‘This is better than anything else.’”

The Pediatric Emergency Department, staffed by trauma specialists and pediatric specialists from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, has long provided televisions for visual entertainment and patient/family education. But the iPads offer direct engagement for children, as well as a complete suite of services for parents and family. For kids who’ve suffered an injury, the iPad can offer a familiar comfort to help calm and reassure them and focus their energy on just being a child.

The Pediatric ED is the first to have a system in place that allows iPads to be available right in the patient room, locked away yet easily accessible, and with our own App. The app is designed to entertain, inform and help communicate with the ED staff. Children can watch movies, listen to music, play games or read books. Parents can go online, print documents or check their email. The App lets the user communicate by Messages (SMS) and Face Time (Video Chat) with the Pediatric ED Unit Secretary, the Child Life Specialist, our Guest Services, and can contact an interpreter if needed.

Packard Children’s is certain this new service will help the children and their caretakers pass the time quicker and feel more connected with their Pediatric ED treatment team. Take a look at the video below to learn more.


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