COVID-19: FRONTLINE VR
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board with support fromthe Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University have just completed a brief service evaluation for using VR as an aid to support the mental health and well-being of frontline staff. Working with Rescape.me the project deployed 21 VR headsets to frontline ICU staff to see if VR could help improve those staffs’ mental wellbeing, primarily anxiety.
“Didn’t think that it would be as helpful/ relaxing as I thought, finding myself looking forward to using it to shut off and help me sleep!” PID 114
The work has highlighted the role VR could play in supporting the wellbeing of staff. In the evaluation, staff reported a reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety, and that VR aided relaxation and sleep for some.
“Given our current understanding of conditions and challenges for frontline staff, along with the evidence for using virtual reality, an intervention aimed at limiting burnout and supporting mental health and wellbeing of staff is well justified.“
Success was bench-marked on a required average of 7/10 for the valid percentage responding in the questions asked. This was achieved and the report concludes that more research is needed but VR could play an important role in staff wellbeing and future management of stress and anxiety.
For speed, we have made the preliminary report and findings from this evaluation available here.
INITIAL ICU RESEARCH
In late 2019 Dr Ceri Lynch and Gemma Jones concluded a feasibility study that looked at critically ill patients, their relatives and intensive care unit (ICU) staff, who are all at high risk of stress and anxiety and with patients often experiencing pain. The study explored the potential benefits of virtual reality for stress, anxiety and pain management in the ICU.
The study has in May 2020 been published in ICU Management.
The improvement in patients’ reported pain after VR, particularly for those patients with higher pain scores (3.41 points out of 10) was remarkable and is comparable with opioid analgesics.
NEXT STAGE OF FRONTLINE VR:
If you feel your staff need additional wellbeing support, we want to help. Perhaps you work in ICU, A&E or in a Care home? VR could help your team if they are suffering from anxiety.
We are now actively looking for partner organisations to deploy Frontline VR at scale whilst gaining valuable learning through research, led by Centre for Trials Research.
The team is also involved in several research projects across life sciences and keen to hear from health care professionals interested in running VR trials. We hope to be able to offer support and advice in furthering your project. Drop us a note to discuss further.