Introduction Our approach to care is to enable those who need our help to live as well as they can within the constraints of a life-limiting illness. How we care for them is personal and ensures we take account of someone’s whole well-being. The virtual reality project forms a novel yet integral part of our service delivery.
Method The grant from APDS, enabled Severn Hospice to introduce regular VR sessions to patients attending our services. Sessions focused on the needs of the individual within the defined, safe boundaries of Greener Games App - Nature Treks. We started our VR working group in 2017 and included complementary therapist, psychologist, medical consultant, social worker, nurses, HCA’s, IT support and creative therapist, ensuring a holistic approach to its application. Staff visited other hospices and VR conferences collating information. There was anxiety from staff about the content of what we were to show patients and how emotive that may be - how would we vet the content before application without watching it all first? How would we screen patients? How would we collate feedback? How do we keep this safe for patients? etc. Contact was made with Greener Games - they gifted us 2 lightweight headsets, supported us with training and helped to develop a screening tool. A project lead and 2 IPADS were funded by the APDS grant.
Results Patients attending our day care sessions were offered a way to achieve life goals that they may not have thought possible because of their illness. A new tool is now available for nursing staff to help patients to relax and cope with anxieties and symptoms. Patients reported feeling physically calmer after VR sessions. Staff witnessed reduced respiratory rate in 5 out of 13 patients. No side effects of using VR were reported.
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