Hospital Quirónsalud Torrevieja has introduced virtual reality headsets in the care provided to children by its paediatric emergency service. The use of these devices, personalised for each child, plays a role in the reduction of their perception of pain and anxiety when undergoing procedures such as taking blood samples or reducing fractures and luxations, among others.
These devices work by keeping the child’s attention on something other than the procedure applied during their care. As Doctor María Mínguez Head of the Paediatric Service at Quirónsalud Torrevieja, explains, “with the introduction of this medium, we hope to see multiple benefits for the patient. Among the advantages of virtual reality headsets, we can include quicker sample extraction, a lower number of failed attempts at sample extraction due to better patient collaboration, a lower need for anaesthetics, and the effect of retrograde amnesia in the child’s memory, who will not remember this as a traumatic episode, favouring a positive predisposition for future visits to a healthcare centre.”
Among the procedures initiated by the Paediatric Service at Quirónsalud Torrevieja, we can highlight the training of all personnel to improve empathy with parents and family members, an improvement in communication and information regarding the technique to be performed, adapted to the patient’s age and comprehension level, the active participation of parents and children during procedures, the use of pain scales and their registration in the case history so we can observe their evolution, and the use of a positive reinforcement after each of the interventions, among other measures.
All these actions are extremely beneficial, both for the minors and their families, and for healthcare personnel. “Children do not suffer needlessly, so their memory of their stay in the hospital is no longer painful; we improve their level of anxiety and, with this, that of their parents and family members,” explains Doctor Mínguez. “Additionally, different studies have shown that the implementation of these techniques reduces the length of hospital stays and increases patient’s perception regarding quality of care,” she adds.