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Archive August 2019 XX, No. 8

Ideas That Work: Virtual Reality Headsets Take Patients to Another Place

Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital
Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital
DISTRACTION IN ACTION VR headsets can help take patients' minds off unpleasant procedures.

Certain procedures cause anxiety for patients. That’s especially true at my facility, where we’re treating children. When we received a $13,000 grant for 3 virtual reality (VR) headsets, we put them to good use, and it’s been a huge success for us. I’ve used VR with 6 patients so far, and it’s been used in our oncology and neurology clinics, too.

To go with the headsets, we have special phones that feature 3 VR apps. There’s a scuba diving app where you dive down and shoot bubbles at fish. There’s a meditation app. And there’s an MRI experience — the kids watch it through the goggles as if they’re having an MRI, so they better know what to expect before they actually have one.

Each child gets an individual package before he uses the VR set. It has a hair net, and a piece of foam that sticks on front of the goggles, on the part that’s up against their face. We put covers over the headphones of the headset. Once a patient is done, we remove all those things, and then use sanitizing wipes to clean the strap, the headphones and the goggles. We also use lens cleansers on the goggles.

Andrea Westmoreland
Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital
Charlotte, N.C.

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