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VR helps dying visit Europe, swim with dolphins



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A hospice patient uses a virtual reality headset.


VITAS Healthcare

When hospice nurse Laurie McKay arrived in the emergency room, her patient – a man in his early sixties with terminal cancer and now a broken hip – said to her: "I knew you would come someday, but today is my wife and i were going to come on a cruise ship. "

McKay, the main caregiver of Continuum Care Hospice based in the San Francisco Bay Area, would not have mated to miss the last cruise to Alaska together so she turned to a tool that Continuum had begun to use with her patients – virtual reality.

She made an appointment to visit the couple when they were home again. With the Samsung Gear VR headset and Google Earth VR, she had mapped out all the ports where the cruise would have stopped, giving the couple 360 ​​degree views of the ocean, waterfall, and ice cave that they might have had in person. McKay also showed the man his childhood home today and the marina in California where the boat he had been working on was docked.

"These were experiences he thought he would never see completed," McKay said.


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While you may be thinking of virtual reality as something used for games and marketing gimmicks, it has also found its way into a number of other industries, including healthcare. The virtual reality market for health care alone should reach 6.91 billion. Dollars in 2026, according to a March report from reports and data.

VR can get a bad rap as a unique technology that did not meet expectations, but companies have not given up on it. Facebook last month released $ 400 Oculus Quest, which CNET editor Scott Stein called the best he has tried this year. And the virtual reality has made progress outside the consumer world.

For example, using VR for hospice care – as a way to bring a larger world to people who have been confined to a room or just a bed – begins to address care providers. It can be a way to tick off topics with topics like visiting London, swimming with dolphins or even skydiving. It can also supplement therapy and counseling, and may even help control pain.

Plugging in

To bring VR to its patients over the past year, Continuum continues with Rendever, a company that focuses on virtual reality for seniors.

Rendever supplied Continuum with headsets and tablets that allow the person running the session to manage the experience. The company has a library of mostly third-party VR experiences to choose from, and a fluttering system they have created that lets caregivers know that an app may not suit anyone with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder, motion sickness or the like. In addition, two people can even experience the same app with separate headsets.

This sharing experience is an important factor. Reindeer CEO Kyle Rand talked about the prevalence of social isolation among seniors and how it is difficult to create new common experiences when your world has become so limited.

"It's one of the most amazing things you can offer a family going through this very hard time – to give them a last trip," Rand said.

Elsewhere in the country, hospice nurses suck on using virtual reality on their own.

Ben Roby, a chapel at the Hospice of North Central Ohio and the self-confident resident technician, began looking at VR about a year ago when the development director approached him.

Having done a lot of research and getting a grant from a local philanthropic organization, Roby put on a Windows Mixed Reality headset and a Oculus Go .

During the four and a half months he has had VR in the field with him (at this time he does not go home without it), Roby said most patients trying to use it again. A patient, a 91-year-old woman, told a request for cliff diving last week.

But without seeking excitement, finding peace or just making cool things in the VR, Roby said it also helped him transfer some of the more serious conversations that patients could possibly have with a chapel.

Once upon a time, he showed a woman Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world's highest waterfall.

"She took off the goggles and said:" How does heaven go better than that? "He said." As a chapel, it just jumps open to me to be able to converse with her about the problems of life. "

Beyond the Forest List

Fulfilling a Forest List or Discussing Spiritual Relationships These are the Only Ways That hospice care providers use VR.

In February, AT&T and Vitas Healthcare began studying how it could be used to deal with anxiety, as well as pain management by reducing the use of opioids and helping patients become more clear. [19659006] Linking virtual reality to relieve pain through distraction is not new Scientists at the University of Washington used VR to help burn victims with painful wounds more than a decade ago, a 2017 study by Cedars-Sinai showing that patients, Using Virtual Reality as a Distraction, reported a 24 percent decrease in the severity of their pain.

Rod Cruz, AT & T's General Manager of Healthcare Indus try Solutions, said that VR for pain management could be a preferred option "rather than making people comfortably numb with opiates and other things to dump pain."

Vitas and AT & T begin in California with 15 clinicians having Magic Leap and Oculus Go headsets. Vita's CIO Patrick Hale expects it to translate into hundreds of patients using the devices. From all these interactions, they hope to get away with perspective on the best types of experiences to use, the ideal length and data on the effects of VR on respiratory rate, heart rate and blood pressure. Within six to nine months, Hale will have a developed and modified therapy program that can be used by Vitas across the country.

Cruz said having access to 5G mobile hotspots to run 4K VR could cut down and improve VR experience. However, the next generation of cellular technology is only in the early stages of implementation, so the kind of coverage that needs to be in place for this can still be years away.

VR's influence

VR may not be a magical potion – there will be people who will not shake with new technology or who will be prone to nausea and motion sickness that sometimes comes with laggy virtual reality experiences. For others, poor vision can be an obstacle.

But for those who can use it, their caregivers say it is effective in ways they did not expect .

McKay – the nurse who designated the cruise sports for the couple who missed their trip – said husband's wife reported that he told everyone who came to visit him about the VR experience. And when he died, she even talked about it to his service.

"He should end up being in a bed in his home and waiting to die," McKay said. "Instead, he found that he was able to live and participate and find joy every day as he was given."

Originally published at. 5:00 PT.


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