Virtual Reality can now help Dementia patients recall their memory. In almost every era there are innovations that revolutionize the world. Looking way back, some of the examples can be metal tools and the wheel. More recent examples could include automobiles, computers and most recently, smartphones.
Almost every one of these inventions is now used commonly in everyday life. A lot of industry thinks that the next big thing could be virtual reality. Some industries, such as the gaming industry, have already invested heavily in virtual reality technology.
Although virtual reality is fairly recent, it is by no means new. There are already companies making nursing assignment help virtual reality headsets such as Oculus, Samsung, and HTC to name a few. Another industry that has a major use for virtual reality technology in the medical field.
Virtual reality technology is already being implemented in the medical field. It is being used to teach students and also to treat patients, to some extent. As technology develops more uses are being found for it and it is also being fine-tuned for specific demands.
Researchers and doctors have also started to try and use virtual reality tech to treat patients with dementia. It is important to note that dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. Many diseases fall under the category of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
What is dementia? How does it affect a person?
Dementia is not a disease. Dementia is a term used to categorize different diseases based on their symptoms. The most common symptoms which indicate dementia include memory loss, loss of motor skills, difficulty in everyday tasks and being unable to recognize faces, just to name a few.
You might be wondering, how can virtual reality help with dementia? Honestly, in this day and age, is anything surprising anymore? Scientists and doctors have been using virtual reality tech to treat dementia patients and see their reactions. It is fairly new technology so there are a few bumps but this new method is being researched to see if it could be something viable for the future.
Treating dementia with virtual reality? Does it work?
The first and foremost thing to realize is that almost every medical study takes years, sometimes decades to be proven right or wrong. It is a long and complicated process involving multiple subjects in varying environments. If one person responds positively, the study cannot be called a success. An average needs to be calculated, keeping in mind things such as age, environment and so much more.
Virtual reality technology is fairly new and although it is advancing very quickly, it has not been around for very long. Researchers are now assignment help starting to explore this medium and see what effects if any, virtual reality has on dementia patients.
One such study was conducted by researchers from the University of Kent – School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) including Dr. Jim Ang and Ph.D candidate Lama Tabaha. The study took place at mental healthcare provider St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton.
Eight patients took part in the study, varying in age from 41 to 88. All eight of the patients had already been diagnosed with dementia, some with Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Each patient used the VR headset to ‘visit’ a virtual location. Sixteen sessions were held and feedback was taken from patients and their caretakers.
It was found that patients had been able to recall old memories during or after they had visited the virtual environment. Dr. Ang commented that a larger study would need to be conducted to validate the results but the initial results were positive and indicated that virtual reality could be really important in this sector.
Researchers think they may also be a correlation between the use of virtual reality technology and a positive mood. Patients remembering their past helped their caregivers to learn about them and this, in turn, helps them to improve social interactions between the patients and the caregivers. One subject showed an interest in painting after the study and enjoyed remembering the experience
Overall the study had a positive conclusion as the researchers were able to find several links between using virtual reality to help dementia patients.
With time as larger studies are conducted along with the improvement in technology of the virtual reality systems, more concrete evidence will be found.
How would use virtual technology for treatment work? Can everyone afford it?
Virtual reality headsets from companies such as Oculus now start as low as £350. Sessions can be held where the patient is allowed to visit places from their memory or places which might trigger past events that they’ve experienced. They can also be allowed to explore new locations depending on their preferences.
With time, apps are being developed for virtual reality that will help dementia patients in various ways. Virtual reality is an affordable, accessible method of treatment for dementia patients. It can be used by most individuals, even if they only understand just the basic technology.
Based on the studies so far, does virtual technology really have the potential to treat patients with dementia?
Although there aren’t any conclusive studies yet, the research done so far has provided positive results. Virtual reality technology seems to be an affordable therapy or treatment for dementia patients. It is something that can be used easily. A patient would not have to go to a hospital for it. They can simply have the virtual experience within the confines of their own home without stepping outside.
As time goes on, applications will continue to be customized for this particular use. This will continue to improve the experience for users. The research so far indicates that virtual technology is indeed a viable option that is affordable and accessible.
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