How Virtual Reality is shaping the future of palliative care...
We were thrilled to attend the excellent Palliative Care Conference in Harrogate last week and delighted with the response that huunuu received, in particular around how to begin those sometimes tricky crucial conversations, around death and dying.
Whilst we were there, we met the lovely people from Royal Trinity Hospice and Flix Films who have teamed up to offer powerful technological respite to those in a palliative care setting.
By harnessing the power of virtual reality software the team have come together to produce something rather extraordinary. Imagine yourself as a patient in a hospice, unsure about how much time is left and physically unable to do many of things you used to enjoy. Or maybe there was something you longed to do, but didn’t manage to fit it in. Imagine again, that if you slipped on a pair of virtual reality goggles you could be transported to anywhere in the world, try surfing, meet mountain gorillas or swim with dolphins. This is a small part of the expert and compassionate care available at Royal Trinity Hospice in London and offers the opportunity to engage and connect in a joy filled sensory experience.
It isn’t just patients and their families that are enjoying the benefits of the technology. Flix Reels is based on the understanding that the most effective learning happens when there is an emotional link to what you see, and is therefore an excellent training tool.
Virtual Reality can ‘place’ the staff in difficult situations, having challenging conversations and allow them to practise their response and gain confidence, which is invaluable in a palliative care setting.
We were lucky enough to try out this extraordinary experience ourselves and were given a number of ‘bucket list’ options to choose from. I chose to meet mountain gorillas and it was incredible! As you have 360 vision, I found myself spinning in my chair, looking up and down to try and see everything. For five minutes I was there and when I had a close encounter of the fury kind at the end, I couldn’t help but smile and feel moved. My brain certainly didn’t feel like it was sitting in a busy conference room in Harrogate. I was immersed. Clare trialled surfing and from watching her I could tell that she was really enjoying the moment. She stood and executed a perfect surfing position. Fun, effective, moving - absolutely and the potential is exciting and reassuring in equal measure. Bravo.