PAST-FUTURE

VR technology is on the rise and still requires lots of development and research. But fueled by pandemic social limitations and new therapeutic approaches, VR is skyrocketing to a different level.From mental health treatments to physical therapy, rehab, and children's hospital treatments virtual reality therapy address all of these, and more.

Virtual Reality to Reduce Pain for Hospitalized Children

The VR technology enables pediatricians at children’s hospitals and healthcare facilities in the US to use the headsets as a procedural tool for critically ill young patients, primarily to reduce anxiety during mild to moderately painful procedures. By using VR as a calming distraction, several patients have been able to undergo these procedures whilst awake, cutting down lengthy recovery times, and reducing the need for medication. Lenovo Collaboration with Starlight Children’s Foundation® Shows how technology and hope can positively impact kids’ health to alleviate pain for young patients.

By using VR as a calming distraction, several patients have been able to undergo these procedures whilst awake, cutting down lengthy recovery times, and reducing the need for medication.

Improving the quality of life of hospitalized children

Due to the distressing nature of treatments such as a lumbar puncture, where a needle is used to withdraw spinal fluid and sometimes administer medication, our patients often receive the procedure under general anesthetic. Virtual Reality can be used in place of general anesthesia to help tolerate pain, and in fact, it is having a profound impact on the quality of life of our hospitalized children. We are seeing children who used to require general anesthesia, now able to be fully awake with minimal medications.”  Joe Albietz, MD, Medical Director at Child Life, Children’s Hospital Colorado

Digital Approach of Mental health during COVID-19

Since the pandemic started, social interactions have been limited, with authorities setting the maximum number of people in a group, in some cases imposing curfews. This all means that young individuals are subject to an increased risk of anxiety, social withdrawal, loneliness. Support groups and face-to-face services have been canceled, and many patients experienced relapses in mental conditions due to disruptions in school routines, which may serve as coping mechanisms. Children and adolescents have engaged with digital technologies so in many ways virtual reality therapy could be integrated to treat current mental health-related issues mentioned above.

Immersive VR to support mental health treatment

Virtual Reality therapy to treat anxiety, phobias, depression, stress, PTSD, and several mental health-related traumas. VR exposure therapy provides the opportunity for mental health professionals to not only reproduce real-life scenarios but also to adapt and control these environments to suit patients’ needs. This technology approach allows mental health professionals to evaluate, identify, and apply intervention protocols on patients’ fears and anxieties, in some cases showing quicker improvements, increasing the commitment to the therapy.