US zoo life beamed live to UK hospital patients

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital first in Europe to broadcast footage from San Diego Zoo to paediatric patients

Footage of animals from San Diego Zoo is helping to take children's minds off their treatment in the paediatric burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is the first hospital in Europe to stream San Diego Zoo Kids, in partnership with the hospital’s charity, CW+, and San Diego Zoo Global.

San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television adventure channel providing educational, entertaining and family-friendly animal-oriented stories direct from San Diego Zoo in California.

This new digital installation, facilitated by CW+, means that children and their families waiting for appointments on Mars Ward, a paediatric burns unit, can virtually experience the world of animals, zoos and aquariums with commentary from San Diego Zoo animal ambassador, Rich Schwartz and other animal care specialists.

Originally developed for paediatric departments in various hospitals across the United States; the channel has proved so successful that they are now branching out internationally, with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital being the first in Europe to bring it to their patients.

Trystan Hawkins, CW+ director of patient environment, said: “We are delighted to be the first hospital in Europe streaming this innovative channel direct to our patients at Chelsea and Westminster.

“We know from our research how digital pieces such as the San Diego Zoo Kids stream can provide a positive distraction for children waiting for appointments, who might often be anxious or distressed.”

The hospital is the first in Europe to play the channel, which was originally launched for young patients in the US

Specifically produced by San Diego Zoo Global; the channel features fascinating footage from live animal cameras as well as keeper and scientist interviews about the animals at the zoo, Safari Park, Institute for Conservation Research and other accredited zoos, aquariums and nature reserves around the world.

Broadcast 24 hours a day, the channel currently features over 40 hours of content, which will give children and their families a welcome distraction during waiting times.

“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications at San Diego Zoo Global.

“Parents and caregivers share that the channel not only calms children, but makes them happy.

We are so pleased to be able to bring the channel’s healing powers to the children of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, San Diego Zoo Kids’ first installation in Europe.”

Charley Tomlinson, Mars Ward manager, added: “Since the channel was installed a few weeks ago, it has been of great benefit in entertaining the children while they wait.

“They love to watch the animals and often when you walk past the waiting area you can see they are completely focused on the screen - parents too!

“To have this distraction in place really helps to take their mind off any anxiety they may have before their dressing change, even if only for a short period, which, in turn, helps the whole family feel at ease.”

Following the success of the San Diego Zoo Kids installation on Mars Ward, CW+ plans to instal more channels around Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex University hospitals.

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