Extended stays, painful procedures, difficult diagnoses: Patients in hospitals around the world face such hardships daily. But what if virtual reality (VR) could help? Within the medical field, gaming technologies—and VR in particular—are being used as therapeutic tools to help people manage pain and anxiety, engage during physical therapy, overcome clinical isolation, and more. However, a variety of questions have arisen around the practice, from the impact of violence in games to appropriate limits on screen time.
We will explore the potential VR holds for the well-being of the hospitalized patient as well as the challenges involved in using technology designed for entertainment within a health-care context.