Cardinal Glennon patients get virtual visit of St. Louis Aquarium

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ST. LOUIS — Sharks, sea otters and robots? All could be found at the St. Louis Aquarium on Wednesday as patients from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital rolled through.

Young patients got to take a tour of the aquarium at Union Station without leaving the hospital. It’s called a “reverse patient outing,” and it was the first time Cardinal Glennon used the robots outside of the hospital.

“Throughout the past two years our department’s just been trying to get creative to still offer special events to our patients despite the different visitor restrictions that we have,” said Hannah Byrne, special events coordinator for the child’s life department at Cardinal Glennon. “It’s our way to use technology to still provide patients with that positive experience while they’re at the hospital.”

The kids got to roll past the fish and other animals while the aquarium’s trainers could see the kids’ faces on a screen on the front of the robot.

The virtual visitors could also ask questions during the tour.

“It’s amazing to see patients, in general, utilize technology and when they’re able to just hop on the tablet and log in to the robot,” said Byrne. “It’s amazing to see them immediately start working on it and be able to explore outside the hospital environment.”

The St. Louis Aquarium opened on Christmas Day in 2019 and is home to 13,000 animals.

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