Immersive VR experience helps calm pediatric ICU patients, study finds

A fully immersive virtual entertainment experience can help calm patients in the pediatric intensive care unit, according to a study published in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

Researchers at Chicago-based Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago offered 3-to 17-year-old PICU patients 360-degree immersions delivered using a virtual reality headset and smartphone videos. Patients had a choice of virtual reality experiences, including scuba diving and going on a safari. Thirty-two patients participated in the study and completed a short survey along with their parents.

Researchers found that all participants enjoyed using virtual reality, and 84 percent reported wanting the virtual reality experience to last longer than the 15 minutes or less that it was offered.

All parents reported their child enjoyed using virtual reality and that they enjoyed watching their child use virtual reality. Eighty-two percent of parents reported that virtual reality calmed their child.

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