Virtual reality to relax a patient before an operation

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realite virtuelle se relaxer avant operation

“A new tool to relax patients before an operation”… Healthy Mind’s virtual headsets now cross borders and satisfy patients in neighbouring countries. At the CHU-UCL of Namur in Belgium, Healthy Mind’s therapeutic virtual reality takes place in the Pre-Operative Reception Unit. What is exactly this pre-operative service, and how have patients welcomed Healthy Mind’s virtual reality headsets? Have the answer in this article! 

 

 

Virtual reality headsets available to patients

 

A preoperative relaxation’s room

 

At the behest of patients, the Mont-Godinne site of the CHU-UCL of Namur created the Pre-Operative Reception Unit. Indeed, patients wanted to arrive just a few hours before their operation, rather than the day before. Independent of the care unit, this new space welcomes patients just before their operation, but not only… The Pre-Operative Reception Unit also helps patients relax before an operation

Concretely, this “J-0 reception” is composed of an office and two relaxation rooms. To ease the transition between the pre-operative step and the surgical act (anesthesia and operation), equipment is made available to patients: 

  • comfortable armchairs to relax; 
  • Aromatherapy (essential oil diffusers…); 
  • greenery (windows with a outside trees and vegetations view, plants…); 
  • entertainment (television, music…);
  • Healthy Mind virtual reality headsets, with an audio headset and a tablet.  
 

Virtual reality headsets for the patient

 

Thus, the CGU-UCL of Namur makes it possible for its patients to live a virtual Healthy Mind immersion before an operation. The patient just has to position the Healthy Mind headset on his face, and to place the headset on his ears… 

The patient is free to choose the virtual world, among the four virtual worlds proposed by Healthy Mind: the Zen Garden, the Forest, the Snowy Mountain, the Sunny Beach or the Scuba Diving. Moreover, the virtual immersion can be done progressively. Indeed, the patient can start with a 5 min demonstration to test the Healthy Mind medical device… Then continue with a complete 20 min animation. 

Based on medical hypnosis, Healthy Mind’s Class 1 CE medical device has been developed with neuroscience specialists, as well as sophrologists and hypnotherapists. Thus, the virtual therapeutic experience proposed by Healthy Mind is based on the hypnotic principles below: 

  • soothing and ultra-realistic 3D environments with high graphic quality ;
  • relaxing music, adapted to the different virtual environments;
  • the verbal accompaniment of a sophrologist, inciting the patient to make some breathing exercises.
 
virtual-reality-relaxation-patient-before-operation

 

©CHU-UCL Namur

 

The benefits of virtual reality before and after an operation

 
 

When virtual reality relax the patient

 

For an anxious patient, using Healthy Mind’s therapeutic virtual reality headsets has many benefits: 

  • A deep relaxation before the operation, thanks to the hypnotherapy session delivered by the virtual reality headset. 
  • Interaction with the health care team and the surgeon, because the patient is conscious at every stage of the hospitalization.
  • The patient gets involved with the care process. Indeed, a relaxed patient is more active in the surgical process: he can enter the operating room by walking, rather than lying on a hospital bed. 
  • Reduction of anxiolytics and pain medication.
  • Better post-operative recovery for the patient, because he has not taken drug substitutes before surgery (reduction of  problems such as vomiting, nausea, etc.). 
 

The benefits of virtual reality for the healthcare team

 

The benefits of virtual reality for patients also have an impact on the health care team

  • Better working conditions, with a relaxed patient. The health care team does not need to invest too much time and energy to relax the patient. 
  • More and better quality interactions with the patient, who stay awake before surgery. 
  • Better organizational and logistical management of the patients flow in the care service. Fewer beds are now occupied by patients before an operation… There is consequently more space for urgent cases.   

Healthy Mind virtual reality headsets can relax patients before a surgery: it is proved in the Pre-Operative Reception Unit of the CHU-UCL of Namur. There is a new hospital approach behind this medical device. Patients get involved in their care process, for their own- and  health professionals well-being. In one year, the Pre-Operative Care Unit of the CHU-UCL of Namur has already welcomed more than 1,000 satisfied patients! A tested and approved approach… When is french hospitals turn? 

 

 

“A new tool to relax patients before an operation”… Healthy Mind’s virtual headsets now cross borders and satisfy patients in neighbouring countries. At the CHU-UCL of Namur in Belgium, Healthy Mind’s therapeutic virtual reality takes place in the Pre-Operative Reception Unit. What is exactly this pre-operative service, and how have patients welcomed Healthy Mind’s virtual reality headsets? Have the answer in this article!