VR May Cure Children's Hospital Anxiety

VR May Cure Children’s Hospital Anxiety

VR May Cure Children's Hospital Anxiety
VR May Cure Children’s Hospital Anxiety

Virtual reality has been a subject of experimentation at hospitals and medical institutes for decades, but only in recent years has the technology become portable and inexpensive enough to be used as a practical aid for patients. There is still opportunity for the technology to grow more advanced. My team has cooperated with medical professionals from the hospital where we work to experiment with VR for certain age groups, and they are examining ways to better assess and quantify the impact of VR on children.

A significant volume of research demonstrates that by diverting patients from their pain and anxiety, virtual reality (VR) actually decreases their pain and anxiety. The University of Washington discovered that burn sufferers who explored a virtual environment while their burns were being treated felt 50% less pain. A 2017 study by Cedars-Sinai indicated that virtual reality reduced hospital patients’ pain by an average of about 25 percent. Even in very basic surgical procedures when patients are sedated yet awake, VR has been used. Patients who used VR eyewear required fewer sedatives and had less discomfort. At its peak, virtual reality does more than only mitigate a negative experience; it generates one with more positive overtones. Research suggests that VR reduces stress, improves self-esteem and feelings of authenticity through a feeling of embodiment, and helps reduce pain.

VR works for patients of different ages, but especially for young children who are in hospital settings. Children react well to the immersive nature of VR and its ability to help them escape from their more difficult circumstances. My colleagues and I have worked with several children in need of medical assistance. With medical professionals on hand to provide assistance and guide them through difficult procedures, these children have been able to use VR as a coping mechanism that takes their minds off the pain or discomfort they are feeling. This has been observed first-hand by doctors and other medical staff working alongside us.

Children often feel more comfortable using VR to assist in their treatment than they would with sedatives. This may simply be a matter of control. Because VR is user-driven, children are able to experience it without the risk of side effects like slow reaction times, confusion, and dizziness which come with sedatives. Furthermore, the equipment necessary to use VR is portable and lightweight, allowing it to be taken on the road or carried into a hospital setting without being obtrusive or cumbersome.

Unfortunately, we had to stop our program due to Covid-19 restrictions, but we have observed that children living in difficult circumstances who use VR tend to develop healthier coping mechanisms while at the same time showing marked improvements both physically and mentally. We have found that their pain levels decrease and their overall health improves over time. 

source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vr-may-cure-childrens-hospital-anxiety-dr-rehan-altaji/

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