LJMU researcher doing ground-breaking research at Alder Hey

LJMU researcher doing ground-breaking research at Alder Hey

04 October 2010

Dr Farath Arshad from LJMU's Centre for Health and Social care Informatics (CHaSCI) is working on an exciting, ground-breaking project taking place at Alder Hey Hospital.

Dr Arshad and Dr Lynda Brook from Alder Hey are exploring the potential of computer games technology as a communication tool for children with palliative care needs.

Children receiving palliative care often have a higher level of awareness about what is happening to them than they can openly communicate. Facilitating communication in order to understand the impact of the condition on the child's quality of life and the child's feelings about what may happen in the future, without imparting unwanted distressing information, can be challenging.

In this project, children with life threatening illnesses will be involved in developing a virtual computer games world that can be tested and shared with others in similar situations.  The virtual world will enable the child to explore their understanding of their condition and its impact on their quality of life and may be used by the therapist to facilitate dialogue in order to articulate their understanding of their illness, the impact of the condition on their quality of life, feelings about what is happening to them and their wishes for future care.

Currently, play-based approaches are used to support children in palliative care situations, but this is the first project to look at how computing and games technology can be use to facilitate children's understanding and acceptance of their diagnosis and its implications, and the first to explore the potential of these tools to support children in helping family and professionals around them to communicate and deliver care in a way they want and understand.

One of the important aspects of this project is that using computer games will make the approach much more attractive to older children for whom the traditional 'pretend play' approach is not suitable.

Dr. Arshad commented: "I am very proud to be involved with this project at Alder Hey, a world-leading hospital. This is important and innovative research which has the potential to make life easier for very ill children and their parents."

Other colleagues involved with the project include, Dr Barry Pizer, Dr Matthew Peak, Annie Mercer, and Professor Carter. 

Page last modified 16 November 2010.

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