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Ready Player One. Photo: Warner Bros.

Ready Patient One: nurses keeping kids calm in hospital using virtual reality

It might look like the nurses at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) in Adelaide are gearing up for the new Steven Spielberg movie, Ready Player One, but there’s a good reason they’re equipping young patients with virtual reality glasses.

They’re part of a consumer-led project – conceived by hospital patient Katiah and her mother Rachel Kidwell – that aims to investigate the feasibility of using Samsung GearVR glasses as a distraction technique among children undergoing minor procedures.

Flinders University physiotherapist, Associate Professor Belinda Lange, has been working with WCH Medical Day Unit nursing manager Kathryn Boundy on the project.

“Children can be transported into an engaging and interactive game or environment to provide an escape from the real world where the procedure is being performed,” Lange said. “A positive experience using virtual reality during one procedure could result in reduced anxiety and distress leading up to future procedures.”

Nursing Review spoke with Lange to find out how effective the intervention has been at improving the experiences of young patients and whether virtual reality could be useful in other environments.

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