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Virtual reality improving wound care

Aged care staff are testing the usefulness of virtual reality headsets for senior clients, and it’s transforming wound management procedures.

Originally developed by the gaming industry, VR intervention has emerged in clinical care as a non-medicinal method to distract patients from uncomfortable sensations.

Aged care provider Bolton Clarke recently introduced VR in their At Home Support services as a method to reduce anxiety, pain and movement during wound dressing, and patients have reported a marked improvement in their experience.

Bolton Clarke nurse Rajwind Kaur said the new strategy used a head-mounted display and head tracking system to immerse patients in a calming and simulated environment.

For instance, Melbourne client Peter chose an underwater experience that allowed him to feel like he was swimming with dolphins during his 45-minute procedure.

“When I had dressings done at the hospital they said to visualise something nice, but now I can actually see something nice,” he said.

“I can still feel it, but I can’t see the nurses doing the dressing, and that helps.”

Kaur said levels of pain were associated with the level of attention given to the pain stimulus, therefore introducing a competing stimulus that interferes with pain receptors and lowers the reported pain levels.

Bolton Clarke nurses also reported that VR interventions led to less patient movement during wound dressing, making the process both quicker and easier.

In an interview with Aged Care Insite’s Dallas Bastian, Matiu Bush, design integration lead at Bolton Clarke, explained why virtual reality might help clients and discussed potential future applications of the technology.

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