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Elizabeth Hospice Implements VR Programme to Deal with COVID 19 Circumstances

Virtual reality (VR) technology is being used by a large number of hospices and palliative care institutions around the world. The technology is helping them alleviate pain, keep anxiety under control, and reduce concerns related to isolation among those afflicted by chronic conditions. The Elizabeth Hospice started using virtual reality technology for extending a helping hand to patients in isolation. It has plans of continuing the immersive experience even after the pandemic.

The Elizabeth Hospice in California has recently joined forces with MyndVR for launching a new virtual reality programme to facilitate better symptom management and aid patients combat social isolation issues. The use of VR is proving to be crucial for such purposes.

Laury Bliss, Chief Strategy Officer, The Elizabeth Hospice, remarked that the healthcare organisation was initially aiming to offer more support to patients who are Isolated due to COVID-19. According to Bliss, a decision was taken to prolong the VR efforts after receiving positive feedback. The hospice has also received positive feedback from assisted living communities and nursing organisations along with requests to continue the use of the technology.

The Elizabeth Hospice is a provider of palliative and grief assistance services and hospice, serving patients in the Southwest Riverside and San Diego counties. It offers virtual reality experiences to establish connections with patients under circumstances that force them to stay isolated. VR enables care patients to travel across international destinations, explore art galleries, visit famous landmarks, and do more, from the comfort of their homes.

Southwest Riverside County and San Diego County both have nearly 15% of their populations represented by people who are 65 and above, according to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to Bliss, the findings suggest that palliative care and hospice patients gain benefits from experiences that distract them from their chronic conditions. Immersive experiences improve their level of happiness and cut down the feeling of isolation. Patients feel a lot more relaxed and report a higher level of well-being following VR sessions.

The VR programme was launched following several studies that showed how effective virtual reality can be for alleviating pain, anxiety and fear in adults who are affected by chronic ailments, based on a Journal of Pain Research report.

Virtual reality enables patients to revisit some of their favourite memories, explore new places, and take part in experiences such as visiting zoos, skydiving, national parks and more. The family members of patients can also become part of these immersive experiences by using iPad devices.

Chris Brickler, CEO, MyndVR, spoke about the VR tool’s efficacy, saying that virtual reality technology is an impactful medium with considerable potential for helping to improve the quality of life for older patients. He explained that the VR technology developed by MyndVR is suitable for patients who want relief from anxiety, pain and effects of isolation. Elaborating further, he said that patients are able to get past their physical limitations and discover amazing experiences that they wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.

The virtual reality sessions for patients at the Elizabeth Hospice are conducted in the presence of counsellors, volunteers and other personnel.

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