The Starlight Foundation has developed an online community forum to connect and support seriously ill children and their families.

The program is being dubbed the Facebook for sick kids.

Vivien von Drehnen reports.

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The Livewire site provides a safe and supportive online community for sick children, their siblings and their parents where they can share experiences with people in similar situations.

Just like on Facebook, users can access instant messaging, blog, watch videos and read at their bedside they can even play games.

Amy Gilsenan, Partnerships Executive Starlight Children’s Foundation: “It gives young people an opportunity to jump online and communicate with one another, have some fun together, but it’s all safe, so that’s a fantastic aspect of Livewire.”

Health professionals believe connecting with other children helps patients emotionally and socially, improving their recovery in the long run.

Jennifer Crimmins, Executive Director Clinical Support Services Allied Health: “What we do know from an evidence based perspective is if we’re coping and feeling better that does help us to recover quicker.”

The Royal Brisbane Hospital has launched Livewire, after the Princess Alexandra Hospital received positive feedback from implementing the program.

Amy Gilsenan, Partnerships Executive Starlight Children’s Foundation: “The response has been absolutely amazing, the feedback that we’re getting is that it has really changed these people’s lives, it’s really given them something positive to focus on.”

Livewire has also been given the tick of approval by the brothers and sisters of patients at the RBH.

Vox 1: “I think it will be really good because you can make more friends and chat.”

The rollout of the Livewire sites is due to be completed by the end of the year at the Gold Coast, Cairns and Townsville hospitals.

Vivien Von Drehnen, QUT News.