Researchers have used virtual reality simulations to help prepare about 20 high school students in Chicago to interact with elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in an art therapy program called “Bringing Art to Life”.
The simulations consist of several probable patient profiles of senior age, with varying demographics, progressing through stages of dementia.
What we’re hearing from the students is that experiencing the virtual reality training before they volunteer improves their empathy and increases enthusiasm for working with the seniors — two documented outcomes of our program,” said researcher Dr. Daniel Potts. He’s a neurologist at the University of Alabama who created Bringing Art to Life after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“Why” of this story:
VR has been touted as game changer technology since inception and lead to a flood of companies launching different software and hardware products, mostly for consumer internet market. However the technology has some really powerful real world use cases, which has just been scratched and patient care suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s is just one of them. One top use case could be general patient counselling and even treatment of mental health diseases.
Where patient and medical care has become synonymous with money making and Hippocrate’s oath has mostly become Hypocrite’s oath, technology like VR can bring in required amount of sensitivity in medical care persons. The infusion of technology for empathy and compassion for patient in medical care profession has never been understood with all the investments going into diagnosis and therapy of disease. While it has been witnessed countless number of times that compassion has done wonders where doctors failed.
“What” of this story?
Would you be interested in launching such a service as a startup, which could cater to hospitals in India?
Please tell us your view to everyone of us via comments. Thanks!