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An Innovative Virtual Reality Experience in the PICU: A Pilot Study*

Badke, Colleen M. MD1–4; Essner, Bonnie S. PhD5–8; O’Connell, Megan MS2; Malakooti, Marcelo R. MD1–4

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: June 2019 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p e283-e286
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000001917
Online Brief Report
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Objectives: Patients in the PICU frequently have limitations that impede independent interactions with their environment. Virtual reality is an immersive experience that may improve outcomes in critically ill children. The objective of this study was to assess feasibility and satisfaction with virtual reality.

Design: Cross-sectional, single-arm pilot study.

Setting: PICU.

Patients: Convenience sample of 3- to 17-year-old patients.

Interventions: Three-hundred sixty degree immersions were delivered using a simple virtual reality headset and smartphone videos. Each participant was given a choice of developmentally appropriate virtual reality experiences. Following the short (< 15 min) virtual reality experience, participants, and parents completed a brief survey.

Measurements and Main Results: One-hundred percent of participants enjoyed using virtual reality, and 84% reported preference to use virtual reality for a longer duration. One-hundred percent of parents agreed that their child enjoyed using virtual reality, and 100% enjoyed watching their child use virtual reality. Eighty-two percent of parents reported that virtual reality calmed their child.

Conclusions: Virtual reality is an innovative, easily administered, and enjoyable tool that subjectively calms PICU patients in an otherwise chaotic environment.

1Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

2Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

3Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

4IGNITE Innovation, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

5Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

6Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

7Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

8Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

*See also p. 587.

Philanthropic support was used for this study.

The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: cbadke@luriechildrens.org

Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies