Hospice fulfills patients' dreams in virtual reality
In the US, patients experience events in virtual reality that they can no longer experience in reality. How VR moments of happiness help against anxiety and social isolation.
Lily Hospice in the US state of Michigan offers patients virtual reality experiences. With virtual journeys to special places or immersive experiences, caregivers give dying patients final moments of happiness.
VR takes patients to special places
With the "Journey Program", the hospice wants to offer patients special experiences. Together with employees or relatives, people in need of care can experience moments in VR that they can no longer experience in reality due to physical or mental limitations.
In addition to virtual trips to popular places, the facility also offers various activities such as immersive concert visits, VR fishing or diving in the virtual sea. VR meditations provide relaxation and a calm, peaceful environment.
VR in hospice: empowerment through experiences
"We had a patient go swim with dolphins, and underwater scuba diving, a lifelong dream was scuba – she just loved it, broke down in tears, it's very, very impactful, very powerful for people," says hospice owner Chris Warburton in an interview.
Through these new experiences, the hospice hopes to empower patients. In the future, there will also be personalized experiences. Warburton wants to bring local Detroit features to virtual reality.
Using 360-degree videos, patients could experience virtual walks along the riverfront, downtown or outside their favorite restaurant. It would also make it possible to attend graduation ceremonies or weddings of loved ones.
VR as a remedy for isolation, anxiety and pain
VR experiences would reduce the negative effects of social isolation, such as anxiety and stress. In addition, virtual reality would help with pain management, according to the program description.
These are findings that have now been supported by various studies. In the United Kingdom, virtual reality is used as an anesthesia substitute. More than 2,000 patients per year are spared the side effects of general anesthesia through VR anesthesia.
VR is also being used to treat chronic pain. Start-up AppliedVR has been working on EaseVRx for about seven years. The pain therapy app may be used for the treatment of muscular rheumatism and chronic back pain after a successful control trial by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.