Individuals with cancer experience many anxiety-filled moments over their course of treatment. In order to alleviate some of this stress, one Australian hospital is using virtual reality to provide a therapeutic degree of relaxation and escapism to its chemotherapy patients.
Chris O'Brien Lifehouse is a cancer treatment center and hospital in Australia. It has partnered with Samsung Australia and the virtual reality studio Start VR to bring Samsung Gear VR headsets to patients waiting to receive chemotherapy.
The idea? Instead of worrying about their health and the hospital experience, patients may become absorbed in VR. Not only does this provide some relief to patients who want to escape the daily realities of a cancer diagnosis and the hospital setting, it does so without additional prescriptions or medical treatments.
At Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, patients may choose content from the Gear VR store or Start VR's catalog. Possible experiences include petting koalas, exotic travel destinations, boat rides and skydiving.
While this hospital is likely one of the first to use VR as "distraction therapy" to soothe and calm exhausted patients, VR is already being put to work in many other healthcare settings. For example, an MRI physicist at King's College Hospital in London has developed a VR app to help kids prepare for an MRI in a safe, low-anxiety way.
Learn more about the VR program at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse in the video below.