Skip links and keyboard navigation

Empowering end-of-life experiences with VR

15 May 2024

Cutting-edge virtual reality technology is transforming patient care thanks to Logan Hospital’s Palliative Care team.

The futuristic-looking headsets offer an immersive experience, transporting patients from their hospital rooms to customisable virtual worlds and even their own homes.

The team is the first in Queensland to integrate the Mobiddiction Virt-Real technology, specifically designed for use in palliative care wards, into their patient care.

Nurse Unit Manager Gillian Myles highlighted the growing momentum in integrating technology, such as virtual reality (VR), into patient treatment and end-of-life care.

She said advancements in digital solutions were reshaping the healthcare landscape to the benefit of those receiving care.

“Unlike our existing VR equipment, the new headsets are wireless, light, easy to sanitise, and are safer,” she said.

“The new VR headsets not only transport patients to tranquil scenes, which can alleviate boredom and stress, but also enable them to engage in activities like watering plants and stacking blocks with subtle hand movements,” she said.

“This promotes dexterity and mobility, supports muscle tone and keeps the brain active.

“Research has also shown VR improves patient outcomes such as managing pain and physical therapy.”

The Mobiddiction team said their technology was developed in consultation with consumers and healthcare experts, ensuring features were tailored to palliative care patients; even those with limited physical capabilities.

They said in addition to features like lightweight and adjustable headgear, muted sounds, and slower-motion videos (as opposed to the fast-paced movement often found in video games), the app also allowed patients to use the technology while lying in a hospital bed.

“For patients unable to use their arms or fingers to navigate activities, the app offers external control which enables nurses and other healthcare professionals to select and guide activities from a phone screen on behalf of the patient," they said.

"The straightforward gaming elements, like tossing coloured balls into matching hoops, stacking blocks and watering flowers can significantly enhance cognition and motor skills."

Gillian said she hoped that using the headsets would enable patients to fully embrace life until their very last moments.

“Along with allowing patients to experience faraway places or treasured activities from their beds, the technology also provides an opportunity to reconnect to the past and share precious memories with their family and friends, Gillian said.

She said the Palliative Care team purchased the headsets with funds raised at last year’s Palliative Care Masquerade Ball, an annual fundraising event held in partnership with Friends of Palliative Care Logan.

Dedicated to enhancing the patient experience in palliative care since 2022, proceeds from the ball have directly contributed to improvements such as blanket warmers, recliner chairs (allowing family members to stay close to their loved ones) and now VR headsets.

Gillian said this year's Ball was now sold out and she was looking forward to seeing people enjoy a night dedicated to supporting the incredible efforts of hospital staff in improving patients' lives.

Last updated 15 May 2024
Last reviewed 15 May 2024

Other news

Consumers complete 15 Steps Challenge

Three consumer partners have recently taken part in a 15 Steps Challenge at the soon to be opened, state-of-the-art Eight Mile Plains Satellite Hospital. 

A privilege to provide care for 20 years

Deanna Shephard embarked on her nursing career two decades ago and to this day finds it a privilege to care for people in their most vulnerable state.