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Virtual Reality helping hospitalized patients

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

A new but little-known application of Virtual Reality is helping patients who are hospitalized short or long term. The benefits are a faster recovery compared to the normal time period and providing the patient an overall shorter hospital stay. Additionally, using this technology brings significant reductions in pain and anxiety for users with a variety of ailments, including cancer.

If a child is to receive an injection, for example, or have the dressing changed on a wound, they may put on a VR headset to take their attention away from the pain and engage in a fun activity instead. The child can play a game or go an incredible trip to the space—the sky’s the limit! Also, children wearing a headset while receiving anesthesia, she notes, “fall asleep more calmly, they wake up more calmly, they don’t even notice what’s going on around them.”

This technology helps patient’s well-being by distracting them from a difficult moment. Through VR, patients can choose their programs according to their profiles. They can range from being aimed at relaxation—i.e. listening to the ocean waves in front of the beach—or a program visiting an incredible place as an interactive experience.

“As a distraction-based intervention, virtual reality can be incredibly useful,” says Dr. Sam Rodriguez, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California."

At the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, doctors are using the technology in the early stages of a patient’s journey, such as preoperative surgical planning.

Children who receive chemotherapy or who need prolonged hospital stays can play VR games to pass the time, diverting their minds from the tedium of receiving care. The result of which is keeping the children mentally well, so the body responds to the medication or the procedure they’ve undergone.

In addition, VR can provide a tour of the hospital to the children. “Imagine how hard it might be for a kid to go to this hospital they’ve never seen? It might be scary. Why not let them take a virtual tour first?” Everything for their well-being

Based article by Chris Hayhurst from The CDW family of technology magazines.

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