Virtual Reality for Needle-Related Fear and Anxiety - OLVG, The Netherlands

Updated: Aug 5

Virtual Reality (VR) for needle-related fear and anxiety in pediatrics. VR is used daily to distract patients during procedures such as venipuncture or vaccination during day clinics. Besides for distraction, VR was also used in a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) on hypnosis in pediatrics. Find out more about VR for needle-related fear and anxiety in pediatrics at OLVG, and why children are looking forward to their visit because of “the dragon”.


Virtual Reality for Needle-Related Fear and Anxiety - OLVG, The Netherlands
Virtual Reality for Needle-Related Fear and Anxiety - OLVG, The Netherlands

Virtual Reality and hypnosis

Sharron van den Berg investigated the combination of VR and medical hypnosis in the pediatrics department of the OLVG. When the VR technology entered their department, she was in the middle of her studies and got interested in investigating the potential uses of VR for patients during needle-related procedures. Together with SyncVR Medical, a hypnosis app was created and used in a RCT study. Besides the added value of VR hypnosis in pediatrics, the importance of trust was key for this study. The study is completed and the results of this RCT will be published eventually.



Virtual Reality and needle-related fear and anxiety

At the pediatrics department of the OLVG, children with needle-related fear and anxiety can receive personal treatment. With a team of caregivers, the underlying cause of the needle phobia is investigated, and together with the patient they put together a treatment plan to deliver the care. VR distraction plays a huge part of this for many patients. For a caregiver, there isn’t a better response than “It’s done already?! I didn’t feel anything!” after venipuncture or vaccination.


“For a caregiver, there isn’t a better response than “It’s done already?! I didn’t feel anything!” after a blood draw or vaccination.”

Reactions Not only does VR provide distraction during treatment, patients can also use it whilst waiting for a treatment. This allows them to relax, which reduces pre-treatment anxiety and fear. Sometimes, patients are even looking forward to their visit, because they know they will be able to play with the VR headset again. Sharron mentioned a letter she once received from a patient “Next time, I want the dragon again.”, referring to the VR headset design.


“Next time, I want the dragon again.”

Future

In the department they agree on the added value of VR in pediatrics and use it during a wide variety of treatments. In the future, they want to expand its uses in for example MRI or CT preparation. Until then, VR is already used daily and helping patients overcome their fears.



Virtual Reality en Prikangst bij Kinderen – OLVG-Oost
Virtual Reality en Prikangst bij Kinderen – OLVG-Oost

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