Virtual Reality is “ready and acceptable” for dealing with “pain and distress” among children

“Researchers at the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine in Canada find that, in addition to normal treatment, the use of virtual reality is a “feasible and appropriate” tool for handling the “pain and discomfort” of children during intravenous (IV) procedures.

A randomized controlled trial (Clinical Trial Identifier: NCT03750578) was used by the team of scientists lead by Dr. Sylvie Le May, PhD, to decide whether virtual reality could increase patient experience by acting as a diversion in the pediatric emergency department (ED).

IV operations, such as the insertion of a central venous catheter for drug administration, may cause childhood pain, anxiety and depression, and it may be helpful for pediatric EDs to identify appropriate ways to increase patient safety and happiness during these procedures. (The videos below display efforts from the mid and late 2010s to enhance patient satisfaction during IV procedures close to those of Dr. Le May et al, but using less modern technology.)

‘1 (0, 2)/4 vs 2 (0, 3)/4)’ (based on the Infant Terror Scale), ‘8 (8, 9)/40 vs 10 (8, 15)/40)’ (based on the Procedure Behavior Check List), and ‘2 (1, 3)/10 vs 4 (2, 6.5)/10)’ (based on the Verbal Numeric Rating Scaling Scale) (based on the Procedure Behavior Check List) and ‘2 (1, 3)/10 vs 4 (2, 6.5)/10)’ (based on the Verbal Numeric Rating Scaling Scale) were additional clinical outcome measurements, including ‘self rated distress during the procedure,’ ‘distress evaluated by proxy during the procedure’ and ‘pain memory at 24 hours,’

Five reported moderate, self-resolving side effects among kids exposed to virtual reality. The researchers did not record any significant adverse effects and found that high satisfaction levels were recorded by healthcare providers, infants, and parents.

The authors argued that “it is feasible and acceptable for pain and distress management during IV procedures in pediatric ED” to use virtual reality in addition to traditional treatment.

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