Pioneering VR hopes to help Cystic Fibrosis patients

Patients at the All Wales Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre have had access to potentially revolutionary VR treatment, and the initial results seem to be positive.

The centre has partnered with Cardiff-based Orchard Media and Events Group to try and change the way that patients are treated. Currently, due to the threat of infection, patients have to be treated in isolation. This can cause additional anxiety and pain for people who are already under a heavy burden.

The new solution allows patients to don VR headsets and immersive themselves in a virtual world designed to reduce the amount of anxiety they feel.

“Our patients have an inherited lifelong, life limiting condition with a heavy treatment burden. Orchard came to us with this alternative, virtual reality way to treat our patients, and they’ve really bought into it,” Dr. Jamie Duckers, Consultant in Cystic Fibrosis at the Centre said.

“We believe this treatment has never been used in this way before, and in trials so far some 75% of patients have recorded reduced anxiety and breathlessness levels. We’ll be championing this Welsh initiative to the CF world.”

Calming influence

The 360 videos available to patients include animals in their natural habitat and cycling through landscapes which is designed to encourage patients to exercise, which has positive effects on treatment.

Orchard’s next steps are to gamify the exercise film by allowing patients to compete against each other, and patients in other centres across the UK.  

“It’s really gratifying that CF patients are experiencing the benefits of our technology which we believe can be adopted for a range of healthcare settings,” Orchard director Matt Wordley said.

“From our Welsh base we’re heavily involved in the fast-moving worlds of 360 and VR for a number of applications – it’s an exciting area of the Orchard business that’s getting a lot of attention.”

 

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