Patients communicate with their families using "VR home experience"
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- Patients are usually bored in the hospital and need to talk to their families and friends
- Studies have shown that the rate of delirium (due to drugs or surgical complications) post-surgery reduces when the patients communicate with their families.
- Communication with family is also known to reduce the length of hospital stay of patients.
- I did not find any reports of hospitals using VR to enable a "home experience" for patients. I think it will further ease the hospital stay for the patients and help improve their condition faster, ultimately reducing the length of hospital stay.
- A study used “Virtual Home” (Home environment via VR) to simulate the home environment before discharge. This may help the patients to identify relevant safety concerns, anxieties, and activities that might prove difficult to manage in the home environment. It could also help the therapists in establishing realistic expectations and discussing/ explaining management strategies. It could enable patients to feel supported about their discharge to home and informed about further care at home.
- VR technology is currently being used to treat patients. The technology is explained in the cited paper.
- In a study on patients with spine surgery, VR reduced pain more than that in the non-VR group. Most VR group patients appreciated VR use and advocated it.
- The patients wear the VR headset and call their families. They talk to their family members as if they were with them at home. Real-time virtual reality could be more effective, but it may be harder to realize and more expensive. Double robotics is another great piece of equipment that is basically an iPad on wheels, which the user can control from a distant location. They are expensive though.
- Secondly, another piece of equipment can be used to map the patient's home to "gather the environment". The environment will then be fed to the patient at the hospital. Here, the patient could check whether they will be facing any difficulty in roaming around the home and doing the chores seamlessly. If they feel some chores are difficult, like taking out stuff from the top shelf (in the case of people with spine surgery who are instructed to not stretch their back), the family members could make those changes before discharge.
Eghbali-Babadi M, Shokrollahi N, Mehrabi T. Effect of Family-Patient Communication on the Incidence of Delirium in Hospitalized Patients in Cardiovascular Surgery ICU. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2017 Jul-Aug;22(4):327-331. doi: 10.4103/1735-9066.212985. PMID: 28904548; PMCID: PMC5590365.
Zolfaghari M, Arbabi M, Pedram Razi S, Biat K, Bavi A. Effectiveness of a Multifactor Educational Intervention on Delirium Incidence and Length of Stay in Patients with Cardiac Surgery. Journal of Hayat. 2012; 18 (1) :67-78 URL: http://hayat.tums.ac.ir/article-1-39-en.html
Threapleton K, Newberry K, Sutton G, Worthington E, Drummond A. Virtually home: Feasibility study and pilot randomised controlled trial of a virtual reality intervention to support patient discharge after stroke. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 2018;81(4):196-206. doi:10.1177/0308022617743459
Bakker A, Janssen L, Noordam C. Home to Hospital Live Streaming With Virtual Reality Goggles: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Experiences of Hospitalized Children. JMIR Pediatr Parent. 2018 Dec 13;1(2):e10. doi: 10.2196/pediatrics.9576. PMID: 31518293; PMCID: PMC6716480.
How to minimise virtual reality sickness?
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Home Security Camera paired with a VR headset through an add-on feature
- prerecorded virtual environments require scanning of your home and can be very boring since nothing is happening (just a set of pictures that you can "go through"
- you cannot directly interact with objects or people in these virtual environments, since it's not real-world/real-time
- the mentioned camera is just one of the cameras that can be used for real-time monitoring and interaction (you can turn the camera around, talk to people, listen to them, etc.)