For kids, medical treatments can be horrible. The root of their fear seems to come from uncertainty and from the expectation of pain. Several tech organizations have thought of approaches to help.
How Virtual Reality (VR) relieves children’s fear of the needle
Getting vaccinated saves lives, yet kids fear the needle. One project started using virtual reality (VR) as a method for helping kids deal with the fear. The project involves them wearing a VR headset and viewing a 3D animated adventure defending their lands against a villain. The medical attendant can see the story on a different screen and the activity is synchronized with cleaning skin and administering the vaccination.
It was started by drug store brand Hermes Pardini to help with their vaccination campaigns. A local design studio VZLAB and Lobo were the creators of the adventure content. “What we learned from doing this project is that children mostly fear the needle, more than the pain itself,” says Luiz Evandro, director at VZLAB and Lobo. “So, in theory, if one could take ‘the approaching needle away’, the fear itself would also disappear. That ended up happening perfectly.”
The vivid story reduced the kids negative feelings and had an added benefit of loosening up the child’s muscles making it much easier for the medical staff to give the shot.
The results of the VR Vaccine venture have been positive to the point that Hermes Pardini has introduced the headsets in every one of its 80 drug stores.
Mr Evandro feels VR can possibly help with a scope of other therapeutic situations to relieve patients’ fear and stress, albeit at first, its application will be constrained by the need to synchronize the story with the medical procedure.
“This solution has a lot to grow in terms of development, not only by incorporating interactivity into it, but also by having the possibility of being customizable to specific users,” says Mr Evandro. “We feel that we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s doable here.”