The hospital is a house of healing but it can also be a stressful and sometimes scary place for patients. Thanks to technology that is all changing. Avera McKennan is looking to take it's patients under the sea.
It's been a long week for Emily Young and her family stuck in the hospital. But this 4-year old isn't bedridden, the world beneath the waves is just a click away.
"Look at that fish! Whoa! It's going right at the screen!" Said Emily Young.
"We all know being in the hospital and having to have procedures and surgeries it is stressful for the patient and stressful for family members so this is an avenue that really offers them the benefit to help that healing process." Said Tom Bosch, vice president of hospitality at Avera McKennan.
It's called Under Sea TV and it's a partnership between Avera McKennan and the Sertoma Butterfly House & Marine Cove.
"The camera is set up on the end and it makes a recording all day long." Said Audrey Willard, the executive director of the Sertoma Butterfly House & Marine Cove.
Cameras in three aquariums capture the corals and of course the fish, giving patients across the hospital campus a virtual vacation.
"Watching nature scenes, being in nature, and even watching aquariums like this will lower your blood pressure, it lowers your heart rate, and your breathing rate, and it also lower stress hormones." Said Willard.
Ask Emily's parents and they'll tell you, it really works!
"She really loves it, she likes watching the fish because we have fish at home and I think it calms her down a lot. A lot of the times the nurses come in here and do their thing, we turn it on and she just focuses on fish." Said Scott Young, Emily's dad.
The idea to bring the ocean to Avera McKennan came from the curator of the Marine Cove and his own hospital stay.
"He had spent some time in the hospital and being the fish guy that is he really needed something to help de stress and unplug from everything else going on when he was in the hospital." Said Willard.
The visuals of the sea are definitely calming, the sounds add another dimension of relaxation.
While it could be very easy to distract Emily with cartoons or movies, Under Sea TV gives Emily a chance to make a few new friends
"Look at that fish! There is a Nemo!" Said Emily Young.
"This is very cool because it gives her a chance to see what else is under the sea, she likes fish a lot." Said Scott Young.
For the hospital it's another example of going above and beyond to make patients comfortable in a healing environment. For the Butterfly House & Marine Cove, it's a way to reach more people and who knows, maybe encourage them truly experience nature when they get well.
"Hopefully it might be a little incentive for people once they see what's going on through the camera and then want to come see in real life after they recover and come see what's going on." Said Willard.
There's an entire world under the sea and while this is just a little peak, it's just enough to help patients like Emily escape the worries of the world; one fish at a time.
"I like watching it!" Said Emily Young.
Midcontinent Communications and Digit All Technologies also partnered on the project to bring the clear picture and sound from beneath the waves. For more information about Under Sea TV just call 877-AT-AVERA.
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