Hoag Orthopedic Institute Incorporates Virtual Reality to Help Patients’ Mental Health

Image of Melisa Campuzano demonstrating the VR equipment with a student dressed as a patient (Photo courtesy of Hoag Orthopedic Institute)

Image of Melisa Campuzano demonstrating the VR equipment with a student dressed as a patient (Photo courtesy of Hoag Orthopedic Institute)

With the new era of technology, more and more devices and software are being incorporated into our lives. Hoag Orthopedic Institute is starting to offer virtual reality in their procedures in order to calm and help patients’ mental health.

 

“Virtual Reality (VR) serves as a mindfulness-based intervention to distract patients from either pain or anxiety. It also adds to our patient experience in hopes to decrease the number of narcotics being used,” stated Melissa Campuzano, a Nursing Education Coordinator at Hoag, in an interview with the Matador Messenger. The currently available experiences are soothing images, calming music, interactive games, guided meditation, and mindful breathing.

 

 Before using VR, nurses will evaluate the patient to make sure they are eligible for usage. Nurses check the patient’s state of mind to see if VR would be of any use to them. If at any time the patient does not wish to continue with the process, all they need to do is tell their nurse, and they will cease the procedure. 

 

The VR is given in short sessions, some as short as five-minute trials. 15-30 minutes is the recommended time for a session. After the session is over, the patient will be given a short survey to see how the VR helped them. Some patients may not want to use the VR because of nausea, being prone to motion sickness, being prone to seizures, prior Cervical Spine surgery, or facial and scalp injuries. 

 

“VR has given the nurses another option to offer patients that is not pain medications” stated Campuzano. Society’s new and evolving technology has helped expand the medical field as we know it. 

 

Melissa Campuzano says to any people wanting to pursue a medical career using VR, “It is worth trying. VR is really advancing and closing the gap between virtual and real. It has infinite possibilities for not only patients but could also be used to teach.”