Companions in Courage Lion's DenThe Lion's Den

The CiC Lion's Den Experience

Patients learn about the Lion's Den when they first check into the hostpital. they receive an eye-catching "smart" key that tells them they are members of a special community with special privileges.

An Oasis for Connection and Activity

The Lion's Den environment is a place where hospitalized children can connect with the people and activities of their normal lives. It offers children opportunities for play, communication, and creativity and is responsive to each patient's particular interested.

Specific Features of the Lion's Den

  • Patients will receive a "smart" card that tells them they are members of a special community with unique privileges. The key is an ID device that allows each child to personalize his/her experience within the Lion's Den Room. When patients use their key to enter the main activity area, they are greeted with a gentle flourish of sound and lights. The system also remembers children from one visit to the next, so they can pick up an activity wherever they left off.
  • The room is set up with areas for group games, pods for semi-private conversations, and individual computer stations. Stations are equipped with a keyboard and other input devices such as drawing tablets, touch pads and joysticks, all on flexible supports that children can easily adjust for their comfort.
  • Children log-on to computer stations using their "key" and are greeted. The "smart" function of the key makes sure they are directed to content and activities that suit their age level.
  • Children can participate in semi-private video conference "pods" with classmates, teachers, their parents, or other family members. One of the more unique aspects of the Lion's Den Room, is to allow children to meet their heroes, celebrities and role models. Regular visits and online interactions with these special "Companions" can be delivered to each room via videoconference technology. (For instance, if a celebrity visits a New York City Lion's Den, children at RPCI in Buffalo have the opportunity to share in the experience.)
  • Some children may opt to collaborate on an animation project available on the network. Still others may elect to challenge other online participants in games and tasks. (A wall of Xbox games gives children the option to play alone or against patients within the RPCI Lion's Den or at other Lion's Dens across the country.)
  • Children can use the large-screen TV to watch more than 150 age-appropriate movies or special remote interactive feeds to outside facilities like aquariums and museums.

How many children will be served by the Lion's Den?

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) serves an average of 450 unique pediatric patients annually, ranging in age from 5 to 19. Nearly 76% of these patients are between 12 and 19 years old, which underscores the need for enhanced social networking and technology opportunities provided by the Lion’s Den (activities in-tune with their everyday lives and communication style).
  • Due to the recent relocation of inpatient and outpatient pediatric services into one centralized Pediatric Center on the sixth floor of RPCI's main hospital, The Lion's Den Room will be easily accessed and utilized by both inpatient and outpatient pediatric patients.

Psychosocial/Medical Benefits for the Children

  • The Lion's Den is an immersive environment that fosters healing and allows hospitalized children to connect with the people and activities of their everyday lives.
  • The Lion's Den gives children and teens a refuge from medical treatments and procedures and provides a brief respite to allow "a kid to be a kid."
  • The interactive features of the room allow children to continue to develop socially despite their illnesses and time spent away from friends and family. This benefit is especially helpful to adolescent patients, who are establishing self-images of themselves during this stage of their lives.
  • Recent medical research supports the anecdotal observations of patient recovery and pain management seen in Lion's Den rooms installed to date (i.e. positive mood and comfort actually change activity in nerve connections that can temporarily turn off the perception of pain).
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