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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 8 Projects

Virtual Reality Technology in End of Life Care

Carys Stevens

Hywel Dda University Health Board

The use of virtual reality in palliative and end of life care has the potential to transform patient and carer experience by enabling distraction, reducing anxiety, offering a calm and relaxing experience and the opportunity for momentary escape from present situation.

The principle of virtual reality is to take the person from their current location / situation to a place of safety which is fully encapsulating.

There are many VR related pojects ongoing across Wales and there is evidence of its increasing use in palliative care inpatient settings.  This project is non base placed specific – encouraging its use in the community i.e own home, care home, and will include local virtual reality experiences enabling people to connect and continue their engagement / relationship with their community, and aiming to explore further the importance of reminiscing and wellbeing.

The Ceredigion Specialist Palliative Care Team has access to two virtual reality headsets. The equipment will be used through the supervision of the Ceredigion Specialist Palliative Care Team, Severn Hospice at Home Team and Bronglais Hospital Family Liaison Officers.

The purpose of the equipment will be to reduce anxiety and improve wellbeing; the approach will be person centred and individualised to meet their needs.

The equipment enables the user to input a score associated with both pain and anxiety prior to the experience and following the experience.  These scores enable data to be used to produce quantitative analysis.

Patient / Carers and staff stories will be used to enable qualitative information to complete the full picture.

Both quantitative and qualitative information will be used to evaluate the project and will include the options for further role out across health boards.