Virtual Reality for Pain Management in Children and Adolescents

Virtual Reality (VR) is an area with a number of therapeutic possibilities that can positively impact the lives of patients. Immersive VR therapy can be used to manage pain. As a result, it has the possibility to decrease prescription, utilization and consumption of opioid medications. Despite several studies demonstrating that VR can be used as an effective method to reduce pain in adults and in children, there is a knowledge gap regarding the potential impact of VR in patients in the immediate postoperative period and the extent to which reduced pain during immersive VR therapy improves outcomes. There is a critical need to identify novel non-pharmacological interventions that decrease pain and, consequently, decrease opioid use.

Project Goal

To study the use of immersive VR technologies to impact clinical outcomes and medication utilization in pediatric patients with acute and chronic pain.  Our goal is to create a series of immersive VR modules that will compliment other multimodal therapies to manage post-operative pain in pediatric patients. We are developing and testing a prototype for a universal attachment to VR headsets that integrates real-time, patient-generated feedback into gaming software to facilitate guided training of patients to manage their own pain.

Collaborators

Funding

  • Hatton Foundation- 2019
  • Junior Co-Operative Society Foundation Award – 2019-2020
  • Anesthesia Innovation Pilot Award - 2019