Virtual reality to relieve pain in patients

Calgary’s Rockyview General Hospital is breaking new ground by using virtual reality to reduce pain in its patients as part of a pilot project.

Using a pair of glasses connected to a cell phone, a dozen people have been diving since November in different 3D worlds, one of which is even an ocean, in which it is possible to swim among the dolphins.

A dozen patients like Graydon Cuthbertson, 47, experienced virtual reality while in hospital. He underwent three surgeries, one of which was to the leg muscles.

In order for her to heal better, the wound was not closed after surgery. The procedure to change his bandages was very painful, says the patient.

Once I was made to try virtual reality, it calmed me down.

Graydon Cuthbertson, patient

Graydon Cuthbertson even explains that he has not had to take medication for his anxiety. The time of his suffering was suddenly shortened: “My pain seemed to last 20 minutes instead of an hour and a half.”

According to the pilot project, patients rated 75% of their pain reduction after testing the technology.

In addition, according to Katherine Church, a physiotherapist at Rockyview General Hospital, virtual reality brings a number of benefits in addition to reducing pain addiction.

“It’s more efficient, we can continue our treatments without having to stop so that the patient can take breaks and without having to call nurses to give more drugs, stronger drugs” , she says.

The pilot project was initially aimed at patients who were receiving care for wounds, but the hospital wanted to implant it in other departments such as the intensive care unit.

This technology used in hospitals for this type of care is a first in Canada, according to project leaders.

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