Virtual reality in specialist palliative care:a feasibility study to enable clinical practice adoption

Nwosu, Amara and Mills, Mark and Roughneen, Simon and Stanley, Sarah and Chapman, Laura and Mason, Stephen (2021) Virtual reality in specialist palliative care:a feasibility study to enable clinical practice adoption. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care. ISSN 2045-435X

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Background The use of Virtual Reality (VR) is increasing in palliative care. However, despite increasing interest in VR there is little evidence of how this technology can be implemented into practice. Aims This paper aims to: (1) explore the feasibility of implementing VR therapy, for patients and caregivers, in a hospital specialist inpatient palliative care unit and a hospice, and (2) to identify questions for organisations, to support VR adoption in palliative care. Methods The Samsung Gear VR system was used in a hospital specialist palliative inpatient unit and a hospice. Patients and caregivers received VR distraction therapy and provided feedback of their experience. Staff completed a feedback questionnaire to explore their opinion of the usefulness of VR in palliative care. A public engagement event was conducted, to identify questions to support implementation of VR in palliative care settings. Results Fifteen individuals (12 (80%) patients and 3 (20%) caregivers) participated. All had a positive experience. No adverse effects were reported. Ten items were identified for organisations to consider ahead of adoption of VR in palliative care. These were questions about: the purpose of VR; intended population; supporting evidence; session duration; equipment choice; infection control issues; content choice; setting of VR; person(s) responsible for delivery and the maintenance plan. Conclusions It is feasible to use VR therapy in palliative care; however further evidence about its efficacy and effectiveness is needed. Palliative care practitioners considering VR use should carefully consider several factors, to ensure it can be used safely and effectively.

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Journal Article
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BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care
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Deposited On:
09 Feb 2021 11:47
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 09:55