Bedside electronics provide game thrills for sick children

Curtis Howell, 15, of Meanwood, tries out the new electronic games machine with play leader Sue Hainsworth

Curtis Howell, 15, of Meanwood, tries out the new electronic games machine with play leader Sue Hainsworth

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CHILDREN staying in hospital in Leeds have become among the first in the country to enjoy a new bedside entertainment unit called a “Starlight Fun Centre”.

The national charity Starlight, which grants wishes to seriously ill children, says the machines represent a “new era in distraction therapy”.

Each machine includes a high definition TV, Blu-ray disc player and library, Nintendo Wii games console and four portable Nintendo DS consoles.

Playing on the centres makes children feel less anxious and worried about illness or treatment, according to researchers.

The interactive games, especially Wii Fit, encourage children to get out of their beds and move around – which aids healing and recovery.

The charity has spent £3m on the new machines and is donating more than 1,000 units to hospitals and hospices across the country.

Leeds General Infirmary yesterday became one of the first locations to receive the entertainment units – and now has 19 to use.

A spokesman for the charity said: “Starlight plans to place a new Starlight Fun Centre on every children’s ward and in every children’s hospice in the UK so that every little visitor can benefit – however serious or minor their illness.”

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