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The Infusion Center at St. Mary’s Health System Offers Patients Virtual Reality Experiences During Treatment


11.20.2019

This Patient Experience was Funded by a Lepage Center for Patient Experience Grant

Lewiston, ME – November 20, 2019 – The Infusion Center at St. Mary’s Health System is happy to announce the addition of a MyndVR™ virtual reality experience for patients receiving difficult and lengthy treatments. The experience was funded through a grant from the Lepage Center for Patient Experience.

At the Infusion Center, patients receive chemotherapy, blood transfusions, intravenous fluid therapies, iron infusions and other types of supportive intravenous care on an outpatient basis. In some cases, patients may be seated in a treatment chair for up to 8 hours and often struggle with feelings of anxiety or boredom while being treated. Virtual reality offers patients an immersive experience that both distracts and entertains them. Patients may choose from a wide range of getaways ranging from the serene experience of a museum tour, nature walk, or waterfall visit to a more active experience of a safari adventure, parasailing or race car driving.

“Studies have shown patients using virtual reality goggles during treatment are far less aware of time. This type of experience offers an escape from a clinical environment and can reduce a patient’s anxiety,” Kim Thistlewaite, BSN, RN, OCN and Nurse Manager, Infusion Center at St. Mary's Center for Cancer and  Blood Disorders. “We treat dozens of patients each day. Offering virtual reality is an innovative way to improve patient care quality, satisfaction and outcomes. Patients genuinely appreciate having the option to be distracted from treatment.”

“I’ve been receiving infusion therapy for quite some time. Using the virtual reality headset during treatment kept me calm and distracted from what I was going through,” said Jennifer Sawyer. “It was fun to view different outdoor scenes. The autumn sunshine, trees and leaves were very peaceful. Enjoying the outdoors without being cold was wonderful. I’d love to try a virtual reality action scene next time.”

The Infusion Center currently has two pairs of MyndVR virtual reality goggles and is also adding Apple iPads, loaded with multiple apps, for patients’ use.



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