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Your Healthy Family: VR distraction therapy helps infusion patients

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Virtual reality helps infusion patients see amazing places while getting treatment Virtual reality helps infusion patients see amazing places while getting treatment

Hannah Moraski has acute intermittent porphyria, and for the last 2 years to stave off painful blood attacks she has infusion treatments twice a week at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs that last 2 and half hours each.

Hannah says her rare condition has forced her to reshape her life.  “It's affected my life pretty much on a daily basis, I no longer work anymore.  I went from working 10 to 12 hour days, working 2 jobs to essentially having 1 on call job that I work about one a month.  My life essentially revolves around coming to the hospital.  Any other appointments or any activities I have to do, they are always directed around when I have to be at the hospital and unfortunately that means stuff like traveling.”

Through a partnership between UCHealth and a virtual reality company called Rendever Hannah and other infusion patients are discovering a new therapeutic way to pass the time spend in infusion treatment.   

Looking into the virtual reality headset, Hannah says, “there are waves crashing at me I look around and I see sand next to me. There's a beautiful island straight ahead and some mountains in the distance.”

Virtual reality unlike her smart phone or laptop stimulates her senses says Hannah.  “The virtual reality is extremely exciting for me particularly because I can't travel and I love seeing different places.  As a child that's what I wanted to do.  The virtual reality gives me that opportunity to see other things and to almost travel. Very few people have the opportunity to go to the bottom of the ocean and to see what's down there, or to go into space, or to see the Great Wall of China.

Overall the hospital says the response to this type of distraction therapy from providers and patients has been very overwhelmingly positive.  UCHealth has plans to roll out the virtual reality experience in 2018 at outpatient infusion clinics system wide.

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