ImmersiCare – Virtual Reality for Healthcare

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technology for good.

What is ImmersiCare?

A range of immersive virtual reality experiences for individuals living with dementia and other healthcare needs. It is also a solution to reduce stress levels in medical staff while at work.

Why is it different?

Tribemix and Quantum Care have developed a range of relaxing and nostalgic VR experiences for healthcare. Initially created to help people living with dementia, the project is now broadening to encompass a range of patient types from paediatrics, respiratory disorders, physical disabilities and elderly care. It is also being used to reduce stress levels in medical and care staff to improve attendance and quality of life.

While there are already many similar types of projects in VR out there, ImmersiCare is significantly different. Unlike all of the other VR healthcare applications, our project is created exclusively in real-time 3D. This differentiating factor has enabled us to create experiences that deliver better results due to the higher level of immersion and the higher level of control in what happens in each scene.

This is important because, with dementia, in particular, the level of stimulation needs to be very accurately controlled. The experience can be too stimulating, or not stimulating enough. So by using 3D, we have been able to perfect these balances to deliver our incredible results.

What is the product?

ImmersiCare is delivered as a complete package including a VR Ready laptop, an Oculus Rift, twelve VR scenes pre-installed, training and technical support.

Our scenes include a nostalgic beach, a forest full of animals, a luxury yacht overlooking a coral reef and dolphins playing in the sea, an underwater experience of the coral reef and dolphins, a view of the Earth from the International Space Station to relaxing piano music and a wildlife safari, featuring an elephant, giraffe, gorilla and rhino in a forest scene amongst others.

We provide activity cards to help bring back memories through questions and keywords that the carer or nurse can ask. We ask a series of open questions in a similar theme to the scene, i.e. What do you remember from visiting the beach as a child? What are your favourite animals? What do you remember about when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon?

We have also been able to solve specific care needs. Such as increasing patient appetites with a VR experience that includes a table of delicious food. Or a 3D church sermon experience with hymns and prayers for those wishing to reconnect with their faith towards the end of their lives.

This makes ImmersiCare an important and useful tool in patient care.

The cost of the system is £4400 + VAT which includes all of the above items.

We believe in using
technology for good.

What has it achieved?

The results have been astonishing, with marked positive changes in behaviour after the patients have enjoyed the experiences. Quantum Care has used the Abbey Pain system for assessing the well-being of patients before, during and after the virtual reality sessions. The outcomes have been 100% positive, and the carers have noticed a big difference in the behaviours of the patients involved.

Here are just a few typical examples of some of the outcomes we’ve seen:

One lady who was particularly moved by the experience was transported into the ocean scene, a relaxing view of gentle waves coming in and going out, accompanied by the matching sound effects. This resident told us that she felt very calm and relaxed, after a short while, she began making the motions of the waves with her arms, gently moving them back and forth. She repeatedly told us how beautiful it was and was moved to tears by the scene she could see. When experiencing the forest scene, the sound effects of the birds encouraged her to look around up in the sky and point to the birds she could hear in the trees.

Another lady who experienced the same beach scene was very happy to be there and seemed to truly believe we had taken her to Whitby where she had first met her husband along the sand of the beach. She told us about her family holidays to the beach and having fish and chips as a Friday treat. We talked about living by the sea and how life was different and more relaxed by the seaside.

Another resident who experienced the beach scene was fascinated by the scene she saw and begun singing; “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” which prompted everyone to join in and have a good old sing-a-long. After this lady had taken the headset off and we showed her the computer scene which allowed us to see what she was experiencing. She gasped and said she couldn’t believe she was just there at the beach.

A relatively new resident who happens to be quite young also tried the experience at the beach and when asked where he thought he was. He said Tunisia, where he had had many holidays. This prompted him to tell us all about his holidays to Hammamet and Seuss as well as horse riding along the beach.

Quantum base the majority of their care around the ‘validation approach’ developed by Naomi Fell. This approach consists of the acceptance of the individual’s own reality and is based on caregivers empathising with the world the person believes they are experiencing in order to understand that person better.  The VirtuCare immersive experience demonstrates a way in which we can create a new environment for the individual with dementia to experience, which they can liken to something they have already experienced or seen. As a therapeutic tool, this experience is so immersive that residents can feel that they have truly been to this place that has been created for them and have escaped the possible monotony of their day to glimpse a new part of the world and to feel as though they are part of it.

Tribemix is now working with Quantum Care to roll the project out across their care home group. We are also working on developing the technology into training to allow carers and relatives to understand what it feels like to live with dementia.

If you are interested in our VR work for healthcare, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch.

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