Pokemon Go is the latest craze to sweep the nation. Some crazy things are happening with Pokemon Go which may not be the greatest, but that doesn’t mean the game is evil or there is no good coming from this latest sensation. One example can be seen with two hospitals using the craze to help motivate their patients to get out of bed and boost their morale.

The app, Pokemon Go, is an augmented reality game that players play on their smartphones. They can move around the real environment to catch, train, and battle virtual Pokemon characters that they find from their phones.

The University of Washington’s Burn Center has been testing the app since last Saturday, helping the patients keep their bodies in motion. The game helps the patients move the affected areas to keep them from becoming infected and helps take their mind off of the pain.

“You get to have this adventure catching Pokémon and like, you can’t really keep track and all that’s around you is blank because you’re playing this one game,” said 10-year-old Olivia Wagoner, who has been in the Burn Center with her twin sister, Priscilla, and nephew Zeke after a 4th of July accident in which the boat the family was on caught fire. [1]

Shelley Wiechman, the attending psychologist at the Burn and Pediatric Trauma Service and Pediatric Primary Care Clinic at Harborview, had this to say about the game:

“Our challenge is to find something that’s more stimulating and engaging than pain they’re experiencing, so something like virtual reality that’s new or “Pokémon Go” that’s new, it’s more exciting and takes attention away from the pain.”

Harborview isn’t the only one utilizing the game, however. The University of Michigan Children’s Hospital has also gotten in on the act. They say it’s a great way to get children out of their beds and form social relationships with one another. They have even found it a great motivator for some children who have been reticent to participate in physical therapy get their exercises in.

The hospital’s digital director, J.J. Bouchard, stated:

“All of our nurses and doctors love it because they all grew up with it, and our patients were excited about it. Right away, I knew this was going to be a powerful tool to use to encourage patients to get out of bed.”

While some hospitals have banned the app because they feel it has been clogging up the hallways, these two are embracing it and enjoying the virtual ride.

Need another example of how the app is being used for the better? An animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana has asked local Pokemon Go hunters to come down to the shelter and pick out a dog to walk while they’re playing the game, utilizing the new craze for the well-being of homeless dogs. Isn’t that neat?

Sources:

[1] Seattle Times


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Post written byAnna Scanlon:
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.