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Virtual Reality as Distraction Technique for Pain Management in Children and Adolescents

Virtual Reality as Distraction Technique for Pain Management in Children and Adolescents
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Author(s): Barbara Atzori (University of Florence, Italy), Hunter G. Hoffman (University of Washington, USA), Laura Vagnoli (Meyer Children's Hospital of Florence, Italy), Andrea Messeri (Meyer Children's Hospital of Florence, Italy) and Rosapia Lauro Grotto (University of Florence, Italy)
Copyright: 2018
Pages: 11
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Fourth Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch518

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Abstract

For a growing number of medical procedures, patients remain awake during the procedure, they feel pain during the medical procedure, and they remember the pain after the procedure is over. Inadequately controlled pain during medical procedures using pain medications alone for pain control, is a worldwide medical problem. Having patients conscious and feeling pain during medical procedures is especially problematic in children who need repeated medical procedures, such as pediatric patients with large severe burn injuries. Because pain has a strong psychological component, a number of unhelpful psychological factors can unintentionally amplify how much pain, fear and anxiety children experience during painful medical procedures. Fortunately, psychological treatments can be used to help reduce pain and anxiety. Virtual Reality is one promising adjunctive analgesic. There is a growing literature showing the potential of immersive virtual reality as a psychological pain control technique that can be used in addition to traditional pain medications the patient is already receiving. The current chapter reviews a number of studies on virtual reality analgesia in pediatric patients, towards the goal of helping reduce excessive pain in children during medical procedures. The current chapter evaluates the effectiveness of VR during several painful procedures in pediatric and adolescent patients, its applicability, and the potential for wider dissemination of VR analgesia in clinical settings. The current review considers factors involved in the effectiveness of VR analgesia, such as the quality of the VR system used.

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