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VR Games for Burn Victims Wound Care Relief

Healthcare industry’s interest and investment in the technology to improve patient care is on the rise. Virtual Reality (VR) is one such technology, an ambitious pilot project is underway at MedStar SiTEL which uses HTC Vive VR headsets to bring clinicians together in lifelike, 3D simulations of a modern emergency room. After nearly a year of testing, the result has been called impressive.

SnowWorld, a VR game developed specifically for burn patients who must endure excruciating pain during wound care has surprised even the researchers who helped develop it with its success. Comprising of a virtual world, the game has patients wearing headsets, including the HTC Vive, and floating through a 3D canyon throwing snowballs at snowmen, igloos and other objects. Paul Simon’s Graceland plays in noise-cancelling earphones. SnowWorld was developed with help from volunteer and commercial programmers and is now in its third generation.

Owing to the VR experience, patients reported that wound care is a more pleasant experience, and some people actually said they are having fun. The VR analgesia technique was pioneered by Hunter Hoffman, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Mechanical Engineering with David Patterson at UW Medicine’s Harbor view Burn Center in Seattle.

For many burn patients who say that opioids, the standard analgesic used during wound care is only partially effective at reducing pain, this is a great development.The combination of VR and pain medication produces much better results as per the researchers.

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