Aims Having successfully used VR as an educational tool to highlight team working in the general theatre environment, the concept of collaborating with, and filming a CYP, who was taking the journey of undergoing a surgical procedure, which would then be shown to other young people, was born.
This project aims to use virtual reality as an educational tool for children and young people (CYP) before they undergo a surgical procedure which requires a general anaesthetic, in order to reduce their anxiety.
Methods The proposed Virtual Reality intervention for anxiety reduction is created as a series of connected immersive 360° videos. Through a virtual reality headset, the viewer has the ability to look around the complete environment, and, the various video scenes will contain additional media pop-ups by utilising interactive ‘hot spots’ (similar to a virtual tour), which allows a viewer to jump from one video scene into the next in their own time frame and gain a deeper understanding of the elements, equipment and people within each filmed location where desired. The viewer can virtually deconstruct and become accustomed to the scene around them and can, therefore, be used to encourage preoperative dialogue between patient and clinician.
. As this is early stage, we predict our results will be similar to those we have had while using VR in a separate study within our Trust: Out of 100 users, 67% felt using VR/360 video for communication teaching increased their information retention over traditional information presentation. (TEREMA VR, 2016 Torbay)
In the wider research community, VR is being reviewed and developed for its potential positive impact as an intervention in mental health, depression and anxiety therapies, alongside distraction therapy for children in hospitals CedaSinai, 2016.
Conclusion Beyond surgery, VR is a cost-effective, safe and engaging method for CYP to be involved in their care as well as being used as a clinical education and training tool for healthcare professionals. VR is a far more immersive and realistic environment than using traditional videos and paperwork, and one that C.S. Lewis would have endorsed.
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