Statement of Purpose Virtual reality (VR) is effective and safe for managing acute pain in hospital settings. However, evidence about effectiveness and safety of VR for pain management during care transition from medical settings to at-home care is lacking. This project developed a VR pain management protocol and tested effectiveness of VR for home burn care pain management.
Methods/Approach This randomized clinical trial was conducted at a large children’s hospital between October 29, 2019 and June 2020. A total of 24 pediatric burn patients (5–17 years) were recruited and randomly assigned to the intervention (active VR; n=11) or control group (n=13). Participants were asked baseline questions about their prior experience playing video games. Participants and guardians were given up to 8 surveys, to be completed each time a dressing change was necessary for up to 7 days and these surveys were then returned by mail in a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope.
Results In the VR-PAT group, child and caregiver reported pain decreased as the week of dressing changes progressed and was lower than those in the control group after the fourth dressing change. All children in the VR group reported their satisfaction with the VR-PAT after each dressing. As dressing changes progressed over the study period (one week), children reported increased VR realism and more engagement with the VR-PAT. Both realism and engagement started at a mean of >6 at the first dressing and increased to >7–8 at the last dressing. Children’s happiness and fun also stayed constant across the week of dressings. Only two families reported some challenges in downloading or setting up VR game, but the technical issue was resolved quickly. None reported serious adverse events.
Conclusion VR has a potential for being an effective and safe pain management tool during home burn care.
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