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Fish illusion brings smiles

Opti-V aquaruim  Steven Howes strategic marketing director, GDC group & Wendy Larmouth, Sister in Charge, GNCH

The Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle has been providing healthcare to communities in the North East for more than 250 years. The hospital prides itself on providing a full range of modern healthcare services that are amongst the most pioneering in the country, including the Great North Children’s Hospital.

Ward 4 is the Teenage and Children’s cancer care ward, with patients coming from all parts of the North of England – meaning that many of them are a long way from home when they are having in-patient treatment.

After a revamp of the ward’s ‘Quiet Corner’, the staff felt the area was lacking interactive activities for the children.  Looking for something therapeutic that would improve the environment, and at the same time provide safe entertainment for young cancer patients with weakened immune systems, Alison Moodie, a Play Support Volunteer on the ward identified the Dimplex Opti-V™ Aquarium. 

The Aquarium uses Dimplex’s unprecedented Opti-V technology which is usually seen in its electric fires to render a virtual aquarium experience that is stunningly beautiful and maintenance-free. The Aquarium was designed for the international market, primarily for commercial installations such as retail stores, hotels and restaurants. Not currently available in the UK, Alison contacted Dimplex to see if it was possible to secure one of these aquariums for the ward.

Alison said: “As a new volunteer I wanted to make a difference on the ward. I found the digital aquarium whilst searching online and contacted the company. It is such a lovely gesture for Dimplex to donate the aquarium, seeing the children interacting with it just shows how perfect it is for the ward.”

Jonathan Smith, product marketing manager for Dimplex said: “As soon as we heard what Ward 4 was looking for, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could. We were able to quickly arrange with our factory in Ireland for a special Opti-V Aquarium to be donated to the Ward.”

The design features ultra-realistic yellow tang and clown fish swimming within a three dimensional environment that is vibrant in both colour and definition.

Opti-V Aquarium

Opti-V Aquarium

The ward’s patients and families are now able to enjoy the lifelike behaviour of these exotic marine fish and the bubbling sound of a real aquarium without the need for staff to feed fish, clean the tank or maintain the filter, water quality and temperature. Critically, as the Opti-V technology is water free with no harmful particulates or emissions, it was able to meet the safety requirements of the ward environment.

To house the Opti-V Aquarium on Ward 4 a special wooden cabinet was constructed which Dimplex offered to also support with the provision of a tempered safety glass panel which would be placed in front of the Aquarium itself.

“This is a unique application of the Opti-V technology in the UK,” said Jonathan. “The advantages of using Opti-V as an alternative to real aquaria in clinical spaces is both obvious and fascinating and one we hope to explore further in the future. It has also proven to be extremely rewarding for all involved.”

Wendy Larmouth, Sister in Charge on Ward 4 at the Great North Children’s Hospital, said; “We are so grateful for the donation of this fabulous aquarium, the children are absolutely transfixed. We have children coming from all across the UK for specialist inpatient treatment and often this can be an intense period of time. We encourage children to move around out of their beds, so making sure there is a quiet area in the ward where it is relaxing and calming is essential.”

Watch the Opti-V™ Aquarium here.

Download this case study for more information.