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Virtual Reality Wishes - what does that mean?

Here we explain some of the research and why we want to get involved in the world of Virtual Reality.

#virtualreality #palliativecare #innovation #healthcare


Pain management is a huge challenge for healthcare institutions today for many reasons such as efficacy, side effects and cost. Distraction is a well-known psychological technique that has been shown to be an effective pain intervention. Some typical distraction methods include deep breathing and soothing music, but the immersive experience offered by virtual reality (VR) with its combination of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic stimuli maximises the cognitive load of the user - resulting in a drastic reduction in their ability to process incoming neural signals from pain receptors. More simply put, the VR experience transports the user to another time and place, and in doing so distracts them from the pain they are feeling in the present.

Trials by Rescape with a number of healthcare institutions and over 900 trial cases in 24 medical departments have shown an average pain reduction of 50% and an average anxiety/stress reduction of 51.6%. These are incredible statistics for a therapy that involves no medication or external interference. The VR experience alone can more than halve the suffering of patients.

Some examples of VR experiences include familiar wildlife watching, relaxation and tours of cities. Alternatively you could branch out into the unknown with space exploration, underwater discovery and other adventures.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the VR software that make it so attractive to us as a wish granting charity. If the patient becomes in any way distressed, we can simply remove the headset and they will find themselves in a familiar environment with people and things they know.

Of course we intend to continue granting wishes physically with day trips to significant places where it is deemed safe to do so. But being able to offer VR wishes will allow us to assist those who are too unwell to be taken out for the day, or even just too anxious to leave the place where they are comfortable. VR technology would allow us to grant even more wishes throughout lockdown and beyond.


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Ambulance Wish Foundation
First Floor
Unit 8, Marsden Park
Clifton Moor
York, YO30 4WX
Tel: (01904) 530053

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