Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has introduced new virtual reality (VR) films for dementia education.

Using scripted scenarios from the perspective of a person living with dementia, the four films are designed to put clinicians in the shoes of their patients, by helping to immerse them in their world. 

The aim of the VR films is to help healthcare professionals gain a better understanding of the challenges patients living with dementia face when on a busy inpatient ward. The use of VR allows healthcare teams to experience for themselves those challenges. The VR videos can be viewed using a VR headset on a computer, laptop of mobile phone. 

The educational videos were put together by Dr Jordan Tsigarides, VR Lead for postgraduate education, at Norfolk and Norwich.  

He said: “Dementia is a complex condition, which not only substantially affects the lives of patients living with the condition, but also the lives of their friends and family.  

“There is a real challenge for healthcare professionals to truly understand why patients living with dementia act in the way that they do, why they feel disorientated, confused or distressed in certain situations.  

“The VR experience helps to put healthcare staff ‘in the shoes’ of patients living with dementia within realistic clinical scenarios that we see every day. This provides insight into what it is like to be a patient with dementia in hospital and will inevitably promote important discussion and learning.” 

A previous collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK and Bournemouth University in 2019 resulted in a virtual reality tool to help carers improve their understanding of the symptoms and challenges of dementia.