Virtual Halloween: how technology helps Paediatric Nurses connect young patients with family

By James Stanyer . 30/10/2023 · 6 Minute read

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Halloween in the hospital can make young patients feel isolated from their friends and family, especially when it comes to all the spooky festivities that they might be missing out on. But with a bit of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, healthcare professionals can still help them feel included with the Halloween fun. 

There are plenty of great ways to entertain hospitalised children during Halloween but sometimes all they want is a bit of family connection.

Why is family connection important for hospitalised children?

It’s the chance to hang out with their parents, siblings, or closest friends in the way they’re used to at this time of year. Family connection improves mental health, decreases the fear of missing out, provides emotional support, and gives patients a direct link to their own environment. There really is, after all, no place like home.

So, with that in mind, we’ve come up with some exciting ways to create a ‘virtual Halloween’ for young patients. 

What is virtual Halloween?

Virtual Halloween gives children and teens the opportunity to take part in Halloween activities with their loved ones at home or with other children around the world using digital platforms and programmes. These might include online activities, video calls, and more. 

How can technology facilitate a virtual Halloween in paediatric wards?

Using online technology in healthcare settings helps to make a clinical environment feel more fun and homely.

We’re lucky enough to live in a time where being together doesn’t have to mean being in the same physical space, plus, we have a wealth of virtual entertainment at our fingertips if we know where to look. Thankfully we’ve done the searching for you, so bringing the virtual celebrations to your ward will be quick and easy.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Dress up video calls

Set up video calls with family and friends using free video conferencing programmes like Skype or Zoom, and invite everyone participating to dress up in a spooky costume of their choice. Provide your patients with quiz cards or some great Halloween jokes to entertain their family and friends with. 

  1. Halloween-themed online escape rooms

These clever remote engagement games gained major popularity during the Covid-19 lockdown. They’re a great tool for keeping young patients occupied and feeling included with loved ones. 

Each ‘team member’ can connect virtually on their laptop or computer. The team must work together to solve clues and puzzles that will help them escape the virtual room they’ve been locked in. 

Notes: As most room escape events aren’t free, you’ll need to organise these in collaboration with patients’ families. Escape room games are typically best suited for teenage patients, not young children. You’ll also need high-quality hospital wifi. 

  1. Online games

There are some fantastic Halloween-themed online activities and virtual games available for patients of all ages. Whether your patients want to compete against friends or play solo, there’s a wide range of options available. Simply type ‘online Halloween games’ into your browser and search thousands of options. 

  1. Virtual trick-or-treat

Setting up a virtual trick-or-treat requires some collaboration with your patient’s family members, but it’s definitely worth the effort! 

All you need to do is create a list of people for your patient to call on a video conferencing platform like Skype or Zoom. Each person has a question that the patient must answer correctly in order to earn a treat, but one person will ask a trick question that the patient must identify for a bonus! 

  1. Halloween movie streaming

Give your patients a spooky movie night by using an online streaming service like Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon. Choose a Halloween flick that’s fun for all ages for group viewings or something age appropriate for solo patients. 

What role do Paediatric Nurses play in virtual celebrations?

As a Paediatric Nurse, you act as the facilitator of these virtual interactions. You can help set up the tech tools needed, supervise online activities to ensure they are safe and appropriate, and even participate in games or storytelling sessions to make the experience more engaging for your young patients. 

Are there any technological challenges?

While technology offers plenty of solutions, it's not without its challenges. Hospital WiFi might be limited, and not all families have access to high-speed internet or devices. In the build up to Halloween, work closely with your IT department to overcome these obstacles and make the best possible experience for patients. 

What feedback have families and patients given about virtual Halloween celebrations?

Most families and patients have expressed gratitude for the effort made to make their loved ones’ hospital stays more enjoyable. In fact, many have shared that a virtual Halloween event has significantly lifted their spirits and made the holiday special despite the circumstances.

So, with Halloween just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning a virtual celebration for your patients. Whether you choose to follow some of the ideas we’ve outlined in this article or you come up with some more of your own, one thing is for sure - your patients will never forget the great effort you put into giving them a spooktacular Halloween!

If you’re looking for your next role in Paediatric Nursing, speak to Your World Nursing today by contacting us or browsing our current live jobs.

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