LEGO® MRI Machines Donated to Hospitals
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to learn first hand about the importance of play for in hospitals. I took part in Fairy Bricks’ worldwide initiative to bring LEGO® sets to sick children. In the process, I sat down with a Child Life Specialist. We chatted about how hospitals employ play to help children undergo procedures and heal. In the interview, I learned about medical play and therapeutic play. The former helps prepare kids for procedures. Alternatively, therapeutic play demystifies the equipment used in procedures. It also provides children with relief. Consequently, I was excited to learn about a new program from the LEGO® Foundation. They are donating 600 LEGO® MRI machines to hospitals around the world. The goal is to help kids work through the uncertainty of magnetic resonance imaging.
The LEGO® MRI machines are not available for retail. So far, the LEGO® Foundation has donated around 100 sets to hospitals around the world. Furthermore, they are opening up applications to send of 600 more. The project began as a volunteer effort by LEGO® Group designer Erik Ullerlund Staehr in collaboration with Odense University Hospital in Denmark. Subsequently, the model has helped over 200 children overcome apprehension about the MRI procedure through play in Denmark alone.
Excerpt from the official press release:
The LEGO® MRI Scanner is developed with a child-centered focus and learning through play approach, which strengthens children’s skill development. 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. Play motivates the child’s natural curiosity and openness to try new, sometimes difficult, experiences. Because play facilitates a safe and comfortable “training space” for real-life events and consequences, it is a powerful way for children to develop their social and emotional skills. It can also be a part of a range of playful experiences that contribute to clinicians’ ambition of reducing the use of anesthesia.
I have long planned to build my own LEGO® hospital MOC. While this set is not available for purchase, the images still provide inspiration. Additionally, I think you can employ techniques similar to the Saturn V Rocket to achieve the machine’s rounded look. What do you think of the LEGO® Foundation’s new initiative? Will you try your hand at building LEGO® MRI machines? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
P.S. If you work at a hospital and want to request a LEGO® MRI machine, click here.
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