Virtual Reality to Support Anxiety and Pain Management

This project investigates how Virtual Reality (VR) can be designed to support self-management of pain and anxiety in children, adolescents and adult populations. Using literature review, we distinguish between pain management through distraction, focus shifting and skill building for long term benefits. A range of settings are explored through case studies. One of the interventions involved providing patients undergoing chemotherapy with opportunities to try out VR apps (games, mindfulness and more) to capture their preferences and examine the feasibility of VR technology to alleviate pain and anxiety.

Furthermore, focus groups and surveys conducted with clinicians revealed strategies that are typically used in pediatric settings with a focus on children in 3 age groups (4-7, 8-11, 12-17) undergoing immunization or peri-operative care. Using a multiperspective approach we engaged children and parents/caregivers through co-design and interviews to identify how VR can be personalised to improve the peri-procedural experiences of children and adolescents, particularly those with severe anxiety. Findings point to the temporality of patient experience and potentials in combining VR solutions to enhance patient’s experience before and during appointments, while also considering the various roles clinicians and carers play along the way.

  • Dr Naseem Ahmadpour
  • Dr Andrew Weatheral
  • Ajit Pillai
  • Prof Phillip Poronik
  • Dr Ana Janssen
  • Dr Melanie Keep