Virtual reality taking carers closer to the action

Image: Colleagues taking part in a Train to Restore session, around a table wearing virtual reality headsets.

Published: 1 December 2023

Ground-breaking Virtual Reality (VR) and 360 training is helping to bring vital training sessions to life and improving the care people receive.

A Train to Restore session was held in the Horizon Centre on Friday 24 November, where people who are responsible for the care of the elderly used this technology to improve the response to numerous challenges, including spotting the signs of dehydration in the elderly.

Natasha Healy, Restore2Facilitator said: “We received funding last year from NHS England Digital to create a digital element for care homes. We decided to explore the possibility of creating a digital element in support of deterioration training in the care home.

“Due to the number of homes we support, it has become increasingly more difficult to train within each care home. We have created a train the trainers package, supported by the Digital Horizons team, and this enables me to use VR to put trainers into a real-life scenario highlighting the dangers of deterioration.”

Jonathan Watt, our digital innovation facilitator, who helped create the package, said: “We created these videos in-house working with a local acting group with the aim of capturing the most realistic scenario of a care home setting; this includes background noise and patient confusion as this is what our care workers would be experiencing whilst undertaking their job, so we need to make it as realistic as possible.

“The immersive nature of 360 media when used with VR headsets, allows users to step into the shoes and experience scenarios from the perspective of someone within the environment.

“Wearers of the device are fully engaged with the content in front of them, in a safe space, free from external distractions; It gives for a far more thorough training experience. This technology not only helps with learning, but also improves confidence of carers allowing them to respond correctly during a real-life scenario.”

Natasha continued: “This training is essential as detecting early deterioration in our care patients and residents is vital; if is spotted and escalated at an early stage, this will prevent hospital admissions.

“Those who are part of the Train the Trainers scheme have really enjoyed the VR element of this program as it provides a real-life scenario that the trainers must work through.

“Watching videos doesn’t do justice to the scenario they will face when in a care home which is why the VR headsets and 360 media training is so vital.

“So far this has been really successful.”