Virtual reality is a computer generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This has been used extensively in palliative care where patients have have had their pain therapy reduced from opiates to Paracetamol .
One of our Head and neck cancer patients contacted Faceup Cymru as he was in such a severe degree of pain with chronic infection of his lower jaw- osteoradionecrosis. He was unable to eat and had great difficulty in speaking. He had baseline pain level of 2 [ one to 10 pain scale ] but would intermittently have pain up to 10.
I have known this gentleman for nearly ten years and he has always been positive & smiling but when I saw him, I have never seen him at such a low ebb. he could hardly speak without being in pain and was very depressed. Unfortunately, he was not taking any analgesia until he had the pain so I asked him to commence on co-codamol 2 tabs three times a day but spent a long time with him going over the VR and gave it to him for a week for him to try and at the same time he would continue with his pain diary.
I saw him one week later and the difference was staggering, in fact unbelievable . He could now bite his jaws together, he could speak without bringing on any pain at all and his demeanour was smiling & happy and importantly, he was enthusiastic again about life.
We have linked with a local VR company and we have purchased a number of sets for the use of our Head and Neck Cancer patients so if anyone is in need of help please contact us and we will be glad to assist.
Also we have embarked on a research project with a VR company looking at its use in explaining to patients the extent of the disease – the initial stages of this research is very promising and we are hoping to go into clinical setting very soon