Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D. Blog

Thoughts and ideas on healthcare

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I'm Susan E. Mazer -- a knowledge expert and thought leader on how the environment of care impacts the patient experience. Topics I write about include safety, satisfaction, hospital noise, nursing, care at the bedside, and much more.

Virtual reality for Non-Pharmaceutical Pain Management

March 22, 2019

At a recent workshop, I presented on pain and the patient experience an exasperated participant asked, “What can I do for my patient who is screaming for more pain medication when they have just had it?!”

This question and event occurs every minute of every nurse’s day. What should we do when drug options have run out and the patient continues to suffer?

Virtual Reality & Pain Management

Providing effective non-pharmaceutical methods to reduce suffering, distract patients, and quiet their panic, has yet to be built into what our hospitals offer.

Yes, we have video-on-demand systems that offer movies and more. Yet, at this point, the patient may have zero capacity to deal with the system itself. For the suffering patient, the remote control may become too complex and having to make any choices at all worsen their situation.

C.A.R.E. VRx goes much further than television by offering an alternative environment; an experience that removes the patient from where they are.

Based on our 27 years of success in offering the C.A.R.E. Channel, we are now providing natural landscapes, together with the sounds that place patients on the beach, or in a stunning forest, or in the mountains all within a virtual reality (VR) application.

VR, now a heated topic for studies, and has already proven to be effective in reducing the patient’s perceived pain over a longer period of time than the viewing time. A 2017 study illustrated that pain was better controlled by VR than a traditional 2-D program of the same content. The study did not isolate a particular kind of pain or diagnosis but considered the need for pain relief as a generalized experience.

Like the C.A.R.E. Channel, C.A.R.E. VRx is not prescriptive. Rather it offers natural landscapes that are attractive to all patients across all ages, diagnoses, and preferences. The patient can remove themselves from the hospital and enter a stunning virtual world, if only for a limited amount of time. Repeated use increases its effectiveness.

C.A.R.E. VRx

Virtual Reality & Positive Distraction

Attention Restoration Theory posits that all stimuli compete for our attention. And, whatever is loudest or more dominant, wins. Gate-Control Theory, the most prominent of pain control theories, explains that if patients have a strong enough distraction it will reduce their experience of pain. VR’s immersive, multimodal experience tricks the sensory system into believing it is elsewhere and it’s so “real” that it is almost impossible for the brain to switch back to the pain. Another review describes the experience as “The ability to instantly transport the patient into a virtual world for the purposes of distraction… makes VR a tremendously powerful tool.” (2011, Li, A., et al.)

The use of virtual reality is now feasible because of cost-effectiveness, strong research, and its broad application. C.A.R.E. VRx is now expanding the strength of the C.A.R.E. Channel, taking patients into the most breathtaking settings when they most need it.

For more information about C.A.R.E. VRx, contact us today at carevrx@healinghealth.com or call 800-348-0799.

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