St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida has a new tool for their young patients to deal with the stress and scariness of being in a hospital – UnMonsters, an app game released just for the hospital's pediatric patients.
UnMonsters, developed in part by the hospital and interactive design firm Haneke Design, features four different types of monsters that patients must find and capture. Made specifically for St. Joseph’s, UnMonsters is a combination of distraction and exposure – the game is set in the hospital, with animated versions of places like the x-ray room, lab and waiting room.
"To our knowledge, this is the first hospital-based game app in the country," Kim Marlatt, director of marketing for St. Joseph's Children's Hospital said in a statement. "The app features one-of-a-kind graphics that were custom made specifically for the UnMonsters game."
It’s not just about the monsters – players are also offered health education opportunities throughout the game. Each round features a simple health-related question, such as how much of a certain healthy food kids should eat per day. Additionally, players can gather special medical “power ups” along the way, and future versions of the game will feature game play with other patients.
The whole idea is to get kids more comfortable with being at the hospital, not just by having them focus on monsters instead of doctors, but by making the hospital seem like any other place.
"Sometimes, the best way to conquer our fear is to view things in a different way," St. Joseph's Children's Hospital President Kimberly Guy said in a statement. "We hope that UnMonsters will give kids and parents a new way of looking at going to the hospital, because when we understand the things that scare us, the monsters don't seem so bad after all."