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Research

Application of Virtual Reality in an Oncology Healthcare setting; Does it improve the patient experience and increase treatment tolerance?

I Grants Graphic

Dr Tara Daisley-Devoy, Velindre Cancer Centre
Start date: January 2019
Duration: 24 months 
Funded amount: £9,535.74

Summary:

Virtual Reality is a tool which enables the viewer to experience realistic 360 degree views of an alternate computerised, or “virtual” reality. The use of available virtual reality (VR) tools has seen increased use in experimental psychology settings over the last twenty years. VR is now being utilised in small scale pilot studies throughout the clinical world.

VR has a variety of applications in regards to healthcare. In an oncological context, VR can go beyond explanation of medical procedures, also benefitting patients in terms of improving general wellbeing. VR has been shown to reduce cancer related psychological symptoms as well as perception of pain and feelings of distress. If VR works to reduce the negative impacts of treatment, this could contribute to an increased tolerance for these cancer interventions.

The current project aims to look at the impact of Virtual Reality in a SACT (Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy) setting; in this case giving participants undergoing outpatient chemotherapy to experience VR during their treatment sessions. The project will examine whether the experience of VR impacts several psychological and physical measures, as well as whether these effects can build up or disappear in later chemotherapy sessions.