Virtual Reality is the next big thing on the technical horizon. It is progressing in leaps and bounds and is drastically disrupting the way we live, work, play, and generally live our lives. Among the many uses of VR, the area where it is undoubtedly proving to be of most benefit to humans is in the field of healthcare.
Virtual Reality in healthcare has made huge strides and is revolutionizing the way medical practitioners address patient issues and deliver personalized healthcare. Medical VR has especially been used to great effect in the field of cardiovascular medicine. VR medical training programs are useful to train cardiac healthcare students, nurses, and practitioners. It is used by cardiac surgeons for surgery simulation and remote consulting. Another area where medical VR is highly effective is for stress management in cardiac patients.
Let’s take a look at some of the top ways in which virtual reality applications in healthcare can help manage stress in cardiac patients.
PRE-OPERATIVE STRESS MANAGEMENT
Going in for a cardiac procedure or critical cardiac surgery can be a nerve-racking experience for both the patient as well as their family members. Virtual reality applications can help patients and family members manage their stress by immersing them in a calming environment before the patient goes into surgery. Using VR software, it is possible to create various virtual scenarios with soothing sounds and sights, such as a calm meadow or a flowing stream. These distract the patient from their anxiety and help lower their stress levels.
POST-OPERATIVE STRESS MANAGEMENT
Not only before cardiac surgery, but patients also undergo the effects of stress after a cardiac procedure. The effects of surgical anxiety can cause complications and delays in post-operative recovery due to the resultant psychological and physiological stress. The calming nature of appropriate medical VR applications can be very useful in managing anxiety and helping patients relax and cope with all that is happening with and around them. This has a beneficial effect on the recovery process.
REDUCING STRESS DUE TO MEDICAL PROCEDURES
Cardiac patients need to undergo a number of complicated medical procedures apart from surgery. These procedures can be unpleasant or painful, leading to a rise in stress levels of the patient. Immersing the patient in a virtual relaxing environment such as an underwater scene during the procedure can be highly effective in helping the patient remain calm and conducive to the procedure.
REDUCING STRESS CAUSED BY PAIN
VR is also gaining popularity to reduce stress by managing pain safely and effectively in cardiac patients. By providing an immersive experience in a virtual world, VR can help reduce the pain felt by patients when they undergo cardiac surgery. The virtual environment not only distracts the patient’s mind from pain, but also helps to block pain signals from reaching the brain, offering a drug-free alternative to traditional pain management.
Anxiety and depression can significantly lessen the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation. Thus, it is vital to find ways and means to reduce stress in cardiac patients without having to resort to the use of opioids. Virtual reality applications in healthcare are helping medical practitioners to find new ways and better solutions in order to provide the best care to their patients.