Virtual reality technology can be used for many different purposes. Staff training exercises, gaming, educational efforts, and entertainment experiences are just some of the examples. A hospital in Toronto uses VR to grant dying patients a last wish. It is quite an interesting way of ensuring people can check off achievements on their bucket list. It also highlights how this technology deserves more praise and attention than it has gotten over the past few years.
Palliative Care Needs a VR Coping Mechanism
It may sound strange to give a dying hospital patient a virtual reality headset. For a facility in Toronto, it all makes perfect sense right now. More specifically, they want to let their patients escape from reality one last time and do something they effectively hope to achieve. Escaping from a palliative care ward can be worth everything to these people,to say the least. Interestingly enough, the patients themselves are more than happy with this development, even though it is not the “real thing” by any means.
Creating a bucket list of things to do before you pass away is one thing. Unfortunately, most of us will find themselves in a situation where completing this list is impossible. A trip into virtual reality can certainly solve some of these problems. One particular patient at the hospital went on a virtual trip to Africa. She would have liked to spend more time with the elephants, but that is how things go, unfortunately. Bridgepoint Health is creating an intriguing precedent with VR, to say the least.
Offering virtual reality therapy is not entirely new. In fact, some institutions use it to help patients overcome their phobias. So far, this has been moderately successful, although more research is always needed. Taking this concept to a new level by granting patients their dying wish, is something else entirely Although this is only a pilot project, it has a lot of potential. Not everyone may feel like giving it a try, but have that option is better than staring at the same four walls weeks on end.
It is obvious virtual reality is so much more than an entertainment tool. For the patients at this hospital it is a helpful coping tool. No one wants to die, of course. Finding ways to deal with the news is not all that easy. Virtual reality experiences provide some comfort and relief, albeit briefly. A heartwarming project that will hopefully set a new trend for palliative care all over the world. Virtual reality and other technologies are an ally, not an enemy.
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