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Virtual Reality to Treat Pediatric Burn Patients

VR Play Distracts from Pain

Ninety children ages 6 to 17 years with 2nd degree burns participated in a randomized clinical trial to determine the efficacy of distraction due to active/passive virtual reality (VR) via smartphones. The results of the trial were published in JAMA Network Open. Those in the VR active group played a VR game and “had significantly lower scores for overall pain compared with participants in the standard care group and for worst pain compared with participants in the passive VR group [immersed in the same VR environment but with no interaction] and the control group.” Data was compiled from patient self-reports, researcher observations, and nurse reports of VR helpfulness and ease of use.

The VR pain alleviating tool satisfied both patients and their caregivers; children stated the tool was “fun, engaging, and realistic,” and nurses found clinical setting smartphone VR easy to use. The trial concluded that, “a smartphone VR game was effective in reducing patient self-reported pain during burn dressing changes, suggesting that VR may be an effective method for managing pediatric burn pain.”


Read the journal article.

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