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New virtual reality games create better patient-experience for kids during infusions

cumxeituiaaomitAs a nurse clinician in the comprehensive hemophilia treatment center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for nearly 30 years, Charmaine Biega, RN, has watched her patients endure hundreds of needle sticks for infusions and other procedures which can mean tears, frustration, wiggling and – in some cases – lifelong anxiety about the medical system and treatments that patients with hemophilia need to survive. But when she administered six-year-old Brody Bowman’s infusion this month in clinic, he was doing something she had never seen him do before a needle stick: having fun.

That is because several of her patients are enrolled in a pilot study which is testing a first of its kind virtual reality experience developed by the hemophilia team and design experts from Nationwide Children’s and students from The Ohio State University. The virtual reality game, Voxel Bay, was specifically created for her patient population to fully engage them in an immersive environment of penguins, pirates and hermit crabs during infusions and other procedures.

“Brody just started getting his treatments through IV on a regular basis and was having a really rough time,” said Charmaine. “But the first time he used the game in clinic, he was so completely engaged in the game when the IV was administered, he just barely flinched. The difference in how patients react during a procedure when they are playing these interactive games is remarkable.”

By News Medical

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