Having to get an MRI can be pretty scary, even for adults. But for kids, it can be an absolute nightmare.
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That’s why, in 2015, a LEGO employee named Erik Ullerlund Staehr came up with a brilliant way to help make the process less intimidating. He worked with a Denmark hospital and, together, they created miniature LEGO MRI Scanners!
Part of what makes MRI scanners so scary is that children don’t understand what the machine is, what it does, or what’s going to happen to them during the process. So, by giving children the chance to learn all of these things through playing, much of the unknown is taken away.
“I’m extremely proud of this project and the positive impact it’s already had,” Erik said. “I’ve seen first-hand how children have responded to these models; feeling more relaxed and turning an often highly stressful experience into a positive, playful one.”
With Erik taking the lead, over 200 children and their families have been given a more positive MRI experience – and that’s just the beginning.
Recently, the LEGO Foundation announced that they’ve joined forces with Erik so that 600 LEGO MRI Scanners can be distributed to hospitals worldwide! Each set was built by volunteers and will be shipped at no cost to hospitals.
They’ve also created free training videos that will help medical staff learn how to best use these models to guide children through what their own MRI process will be like.
“The model is designed around the child’s MRI treatment, and is a means for clinicians to facilitate both role play and dialogue so that the child feels safe and can build confidence and resilience before the actual journey, in turn reducing stress and anxiety,” The LEGO Foundation wrote on their website.
The request form for these models became available at the same time as this announcement was made and, in a single day, they received 1,500 applications!
“The feedback so far has been overwhelming,” the foundation wrote. “We’re honoured to be able to help both children and their parents have a more positive and less stressful experience, and look forward to supporting even more families around the world with the expansion of this concept.”
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