The online tool, which is available through the St Luke’s website, offers people the chance to virtually wander around the halls of the local landmark and seeks to demystify the work done by the nursing teams and support staff that work inside.
“We know that people can be uncertain when they first have to visit the hospice,” explains Nicola Pereira, the charity’s Head of Inpatient Nursing Services.
“We hope that having the virtual tour available makes that first visit a bit easier and people can see what a bright, airy and welcoming place the unit is.”
Users of the hospice’s virtual tour can take a “walk” around its custom-built bedded and treatment spaces, reception, cheery cafe, children’s play area, rest and relaxation lounges, as well as looking at the panoramic view and beautifully manicured gardens that patients and their families can enjoy.
The needs of children are also taken into account with a “find the teddy” challenge which sees in-house mascot Mr Wiggles hidden away in two of the rooms for kids to find and enjoy.
Kath Luscombe from Plympton, along with her young children Henry and Woody knows first hand what it is like to visit a hospice for the first time, especially with children.
“If we had had a tour like this before our first visit, it would have taken away some of the anxieties associated with the unknown, and also the misperceptions that we had about what the hospice was like,” she said.
Over a period of five months, Kath spent every day at the specialist unit visiting her much loved late husband, Mat.
“A possible hospice stay was an extremely daunting prospect for Mat, myself and the whole family. A virtual tour like this would have helped Mat a lot, she added. “Seeing it is very different to a hospital environment, knowing children were very welcome and that there was a playroom, would have alleviated some of his fears. He would have smiled at the prospect of the daily drinks trolley round before lunch”.
The tour was designed by Emotive360, an interactive 360 and aerial media company based in Plymouth.
Duncan Hine from the company said: “Using cutting edge technology to create immersive content enables us to engage with people in a new way. It is about presenting information in a clear and concise, but interesting way.”
You can view the virtual tour here: