Virtual reality: enhancing the person centred therapeutic care environment

Susanne Lewis, Susan Rae

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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There are significant numbers of individuals within the UK who live with sensory processing and sensory perception differences. It was identified that there is a gap in the current nursing workforce development in the area of sensory processing and the potential impact of sensory processing differences on service users and their carers. This novel, innovative idea harnesses the use of new, developing virtual reality (VR) and immersive technology to enhance the knowledge and skills of health and social care practitioners to support therapeutic environments which optimises communication with individuals who have sensory processing differences.

This is a multi-phased study. Phase 1 of the project evaluated the use of VR application within a workshop using questionnaires. Phase 2 of the project is nearing the end of completion with a prototype VR film developed. Phase 3 will aim to evaluate the use of the VR films.

The quantitative data analysed from phase 1 demonstrated a clear rise in perception after the workshop with over 91% stating that they felt VR is an extremely useful tool to use in understanding sensory processing. The qualitative data revealed significant changes in attitudes, values and beliefs with strong core themes around person centred care, perception, empathy, education, adaptation and change.

The Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Social Care Strategy (2018) considers digital technology to be central in promoting opportunities to achieve improved outcomes for patients. There is a growing body of research which supports the idea that using VR, can be enable healthcare professionals to better empathise with service-users and their carers (Poore, Cullen and Schaar, 2014). The Scottish Government (2017) 2030 vision emphasises the need for nurses to be equipped with the technical and communication skills required to nurse patients and promote independence. It is therefore essential that our student nurses, as the social and health workforce of the future, have the knowledge and skills to support person centred, safe, effective health and social care and are digitally ready.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
EventScottish Digital Health and Care Conference 2019 - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Nov 201921 Nov 2019


ConferenceScottish Digital Health and Care Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • sensory processing differences
  • virtual reality technology


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