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A staff member trying out the technology

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is using pioneering new technology in a bid to improve the experience of patients suffering from dementia. A Virtual Reality headset is providing a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a patient.

The headset provides a visual and auditory experience which includes a nostalgic beach scene, a forest full of animals and an underwater experience of the coral reef and dolphins. Users become part of this virtual world immersed within this environment. Developed specifically for dementia patients, the equipment has shown to improve patients’ moods and can leave long lasting calming effects sometimes hours after the experience.

Staff at the VR demonstration

Keefai Yeong, Consultant Geriatrician at ASPH said: “We are confident that this innovative technology will improve the experience of patients with dementia in our hospitals. The VR unit has already shown benefits to patients’ lives and is helping keep patients stimulated. This can prevent cognitive decline during what can traditionally be very long and tedious spells in our unfamiliar hospital environments.”

More information about the unit, including a video of a patient with dementia using it can be found here http://www.tribemix.co.uk/.