News, NHS trust

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare pilots VR tech to support staff wellbeing

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust is running a pilot project that sees virtual reality technology used to support staff wellbeing, in partnership with Phase Space VR.

The initial focus of the pilot project centres around staff from the psychiatric intensive care unit, with VR headsets used to allow staff to “experience a short calming experience” which sees them enter a VR world with “relaxing graphics and soothing commentary”.

The pilot’s aim is to assess the degree and speed at which this VR experience can reduce feelings of distress and anxiety for frontline staff often encountering challenging situations. An evaluation is set to take place in order to assess effectiveness, in the hopes that the pilot could potentially be expanded out to different cohorts of staff.

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare shares that the pilot is the “latest in a series of initiatives and innovations” introduced through a Combined Virtual Reality programme; other initiatives include use of VR to hep staff understand delirium, a VR walkthrough to provide insight into facilities and locations, and VR experiences of trust events such as the public board meeting.

Last week we reported that NHS Blood and Transplant has released a virtual reality training app designed to simulate the process of testing blood for transfusions by emulating the real life process.

In January, we also shared how a VR therapy has received a positive Early Value Assessment from NICE, with a clinical trial taking place at NHS trusts including Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust demonstrating that the technology “led to reductions in anxiety and distress in everyday situations compared with usual care alone”.

Other virtual reality insights include the news that Barnsley children’s and adult’s speech and language therapy team at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is utilising VR software with the aim of supporting children and young people who stammer, providing them with an immersive environment in which to practise “everyday speaking situations in a safe space.