Virtual reality therapy programme that eases anxiety up for national award

AN “innovative” virtual reality therapy programme aimed at easing young people’s anxiety has been shortlisted for a national award.

The pilot project by the Children’s Service, run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, is a finalist in the Nursing Times Awards 2023 in the 'technology and data in nursing' category.

The ‘Relax in Virtual Reality’ programme replicates real-world situations and is specially designed for children and young people to ease the symptoms of social anxiety, panic, and general anxiety.

Equipment includes a headset which is loaned to the young person for the duration of their treatment and enables them to connect remotely to a therapist and receive their treatment and support in real-time.

The therapist can talk to the young person and provide personalised therapy.

The pilot is a partnership between the Children’s Service and Concept Health, which provides the VR headsets used by the young people.

The aim of the pilot is to understand how VR can improve the therapy and treatment which is offered to benefit the people who use the service remotely.

Christina Harrison, RDaSH children’s service director, said: “We are always looking for innovative ways to improve how we deliver our therapies to the people who use our services who are experiencing feelings of anxiety.

“We are running this pilot to learn more about the potential benefits of using this technology and how we can offer more choices to better suit the needs of young people and their families.”

Winners will be announced at the Nursing Times Awards on October 25.

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