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G4H 2008: Serious Games For Children With Serious Medical Conditions

Games For Health Preview - Sessions at Games For Health 2008

In preparation for the upcoming Games For Health 2008 on May 8-9 in Baltimore, for which organizers are planning close to 40 sessions, I have already dedicated 13 posts addressing the equivalent conference sessions.

Here is one more!

Games for Health Session - History of Starlight

When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, the day-to-day joys of childhood take a back seat to the rigors of treatment and hospitalization. For more than two decades, Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for children with serious medical conditions by providing entertainment, education and family activities that help them cope with the pain, fear and isolation of prolonged illness. Many of these activities throughout Starlight's history have involved the use of videogames.

In this overview session representatives from Starlight will walk attendees through the history of all of its considerable games for health work. This includes videogame programs for fundraising, general entertainment for children in hospitals and especially programs to help sick children understand common hospital procedures and manage illnesses such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, asthma, IBD and kidney disease.


In 2007, Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation has made its interactive educational asthma game, Quest for the Code®, formerly on CD-ROM.

Featuring voiceover talent of Cuba Gooding Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Kelsey Grammer, Gwyneth Paltrow, Glenn Close, Shaquille O’Neal and other celebrities, Quest is a fun and engaging way for children, and their parents, to learn to manage a child’s asthma, find coping tips and get advice.

Anecdotal evidence from school nurses indicates that children’s use of this game, a psycho-educational intervention, can reduce school absenteeism. “Quest for the Code” was developed with the input of an advisory team of national pediatric asthma experts. According to Quest for the Code’s lead medical advisor, Gary S. Rachelefsky, MD, Professor of Allergy and Immunology, University of California Los Angeles, Director of Center for Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory diseases at UCLA School of Medicine:
"Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 9 million children under 18 years. It is the leading cause of school absenteeism, one of the leading reasons for emergency room visits, and a major reason that parents miss work. I worked with Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation on the development of Quest for the Code because there is a huge need to educate children and parents about how to manage asthma and reduce asthma attacks, which can be deadly."

The Starlight Starbright asthma game, Quest for the Code®, weaves education about asthma management into an engaging adventure with rich graphics. In its original CD-ROM version, more than 700,000 copies of Quest have been distributed to schools, hospitals, ERs, clinics and doctors’ offices reaching more than 2 million children with asthma.

Quest for the Code helps kids and teens ages 7 to 15 find out more about:
􀂐Early warning signs and symptoms
􀂐Identifying and avoiding asthma triggers
􀂐Myths about asthma
􀂐How asthma affects the lungs
􀂐Proper use of asthma medication devices
􀂐Long-term control medicine and quick-relief medicine
􀂐Measuring and monitoring peak flow

􀂐How to answer questions from peers about asthma

Study: Efficacy of Quest for the Code

A team of researches from the University of Miami School of Medicine, led by Alan Delamater, PhD, conducted a study designed to investigate whether use of the asthma game: Quest for the Code can help families improve illness management, quality of life, asthma self-efficacy, and asthma knowledge. The study targeted children ages 8 to 12 from ethnic minority background (African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Hispanic/Latino) with moderate to severe asthma. Results showed significant improvements in child-reported asthma self-efficacy and quality of life at one month, and improvements in self-efficacy, responsibilities, and knowledge at three months; parents reported improved asthma symptoms at one month, and increased child responsibilities, knowledge, medication-taking, and child avoidance of triggers at three months. The 6-month assessment showed sustained improvements in self-efficacy, adherence, knowledge, child responsibilities, and symptoms. Consumer satisfaction ratings from both children and parents were very high.

About Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation

Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation is a nonprofit organization that transforms the lives of seriously ill children and their families through imaginative programs that educate, uplift their spirits, foster a sense of community, and help alleviate the pain and fear of prolonged illness. Starlight Starbright offers an impressive array of in-hospital, outpatient, school and home-based programs and services that touch the lives of more than 180,000 children and families each month.