Lucile Packard Children's taps VR to ease patient anxiety

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford is using traditional technologies such as virtual reality to help ease anxiety among patients undergoing surgery, anesthesia and other medical procedures, reports WNDU.

The initiative stems from the hospital's Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology program, or CHARIOT for short. The program includes VR experiences, tablet-based apps and interactive bedside projector games to help entertain and distract patients.

Molly Pearson, a child life specialist at Lucile Packard, told WNDU that patients are often so engrossed in the technologies, "they kind of forget what's actually happening."

The program not only improves patient experience, but also offers clinical benefits, according to Sam Rodriguez, MD, a pediatric anesthesiologist at the hospital and director of the CHARIOT program.

"We have many cases where we're able to decrease the amount of sedatives, pain medication and even anesthesia," he told WNDU.

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