Health Beat: Caring for hospitalized kids during COVID-19 | Health Beat | #covid19 | #kids | #childern

CLEVELAND – Ten-year-old Maya Rak loves gymnastics, but leg pain turned her world upside down.

“We thought that it was just from gymnastics because I do gymnastics every week,” explained Maya.

But an x-ray revealed something different.

“The x-ray told our pediatrician that there was a mass in her leg. There was a tumor, and then it was confirmed that it was osteosarcoma bone cancer,” shared Rhoda Rak, Maya’s mother.

Getting treatment for Maya was critical, and stopping treatment even during a pandemic was not an option.

“Essentially can’t be interrupted, even with COVID-19,” stated Elizabeth Hockey, a clinical specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

Children’s hospitals around the country have implemented restrictions, such as limiting the number of visitors to protect their most vulnerable patients. Also, inpatients have been required to stay in their rooms.

“Being stuck in your room, the kids often times will just want to curl up in their bed for days at a time and not do anything,” continued Hockey.

So, instead, some patients are getting therapy straight in their rooms through augment therapy. It’s an interactive software that uses the medium of augmented and mixed reality to engage patients to perform therapeutic exercise.

“It’s not like any other therapy,” Maya smiled. “It’s more like it’s a video game and it’s fun.”

“It keeps them active,” Hockey said. “It keeps them going. That, in itself, will help keep them strong.”

And hopefully get them out of the hospital sooner.

Maya’s mom said augment therapy is really helping Maya get out of the hospital sooner. Right now, it is not available in all children’s hospitals. Hockey hopes to expand it to other kids soon.


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