King’s uses new app to prepare children for surgery

A new app, designed to help children overcome nerves before coming in for surgery, is due to be rolled out in January 2023

16 Jan 2023


A fantastic new innovation will mean paediatric patients at the King’s Denmark Hill site will be able to find out what it is like to have an anaesthetic at King’s from the comfort of their own home.

“Little Journey” gives children and their parents or carers the chance to prepare for surgery by taking them on a virtual tour of the hospital site. Available for use on a smartphone in 2D or using a 3D virtual reality headset, it gives younger patients the chance to meet doctor and nurse characters, see some of the equipment which will be used to care for them and find out more about what to expect on the day of their procedure.

The app has been specifically tailored to King’s College Hospital and uses photos of the Denmark Hill site to help children become familiar with the surroundings. Two different versions are available; one aimed at younger children and the second at those aged eight and above. Little Journey is the brainchild of Dr Chris Evans, an anaesthetic doctor, developed for his PhD at University College London.

Dr Asme Sheikh, Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at King’s College Hospital, said: “We are really excited to be able to roll out this brilliant app. It will take children and their parents on a virtual journey through our ward and theatres, explain what will happen, and talk about how they may feel.

“The app has been piloted in several NHS hospitals so far, with great feedback from children and their carers. Coming into hospital can be overwhelming and we hope this app will help to make it a less frightening and more positive experience.”