New app will help sick children cope better in hospital
By David Wood | 3rd December 2021
A new app is being launched to help children with heart conditions and their families cope with the stress of being in hospital.
The app, from Gloucester-based charity Heart Heroes, will include features that aim to make children's experience in hospital less daunting, as well as connecting up the youngsters' families.
Heart Heroes supports nearly 600 families, who are generally treated at one of four heart centre hospitals: Bristol, Birmingham, London's Great Ormond Street and John Radcliffe in Oxford.
The new app will feature 360 degree video of the inside of hospitals, so the young patients can familiarise themselves before they arrive. There will be games and activities for the children to take part in.
Parents and families will be able to link up with others who are going through the same experience, and there will also be a feature enabling them to send questions to clinicians.
Heart Heroes founder Kelly Cornish said plans for the app had been welcomed by all the families. Now the charity is launching a £20,000 fundraising appeal to pay for the app's development.
Kelly said: "The app will provide a vital service for heart families, who can find the experience of being in hospital stressful and worrying.
"This will take some of the anxiety out of it for them and also help families who are going through the same thing, to support one another. It will make them feel less isolated."
Bristol mum Nicola Morris, whose second child, Calum, 15, was born with a heart condition, welcomed the news of the app appeal.
Nicola said: "I'm really excited about the new Heart Hero App. It will be amazing to have info at our fingertips, both for children and parents. It's such a great idea."
The South Wales and South West Congenital Heart Disease Network has given the app its backing. The Network brings together clinicians, managers, patient/family representatives and commissioners from across the region, who work together to support patients of all ages with a congenital heart condition, and their families and carers.
John Mills, the Network's manager, said: "We support Heart Heroes' ambition to improve patient and family experience of care using this app, and to increase access to high quality information for children and young people with congenital heart disease who require hospital care."
Heart Heroes runs regional hubs to support families in Gloucester, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and two hubs in Wales.
To make a donation to the app appeal and for more information, visit https://heartheroes.co.uk/
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