In a recent study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Singapore General Hospital, researchers explored the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in reducing preoperative anxiety among patients scheduled for elective surgery. The study, involving 74 participants, aimed to assess the practical implications of using immersive VR experiences to enhance the overall well-being of surgical patients.
The research team divided the patients into groups: one receiving standard preoperative care and the other undergoing a VR intervention. Patients in the VR group were provided with VR headsets and taken through a virtual tour of the surgical unit where their procedure would take place. The primary goal was to familiarize patients with the operating room environment and the surgical process, ultimately reducing preoperative anxiety.
The VR experience aimed to demystify the surgical setting, providing patients with exposure to key elements of the operating room. The hope was that this exposure would contribute to a reduction in preoperative anxiety.
The study’s findings indicated a promising reduction in preoperative anxiety among patients who underwent the VR intervention compared to the control group. While self-reported anxiety levels showed improvement, the physiological markers also suggested a promising calming effect.
Although the observed reduction in anxiety was not dramatic, the study suggests that incorporating VR technology into preoperative care could have practical benefits. Reducing preoperative anxiety may contribute to a more positive patient experience and potentially optimize surgical outcomes.
Thus, the collaborative study by CUHK and Singapore General Hospital provides insights into the potential of Virtual Reality in mitigating preoperative anxiety in elective surgery patients. While the results indicate a promising impact, the study suggests that VR interventions could be a practical addition to preoperative care protocols. As healthcare providers explore innovative approaches to enhance patient well-being, the study encourages further investigation into the role of VR technology in addressing the psychological aspects of the surgical experience.
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