VA Is Using VR for Veterans’ Therapy including PTSD

“At Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, some military veterans undergo “prolonged exposure” therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. In those sessions, a therapist asks them to return to the pivotal experiences that caused the trauma and talk about them.”

“For many veterans, it’s a struggle to conjure those events and their exact details. However, now PTSD patients at the VA facility can put on virtual reality headsets that take them to the setting where the events happened. They can see the landscape, hear the noises — all via VR software loaded into the headset — “to help them feel like they’re actually in the place,” explains Anne Lord Bailey, a pharmacist and director of clinical tech innovation at the VA. “You can hear the battle going on and you can see it before your eyes.”

The therapist, in the room on a different headset, can listen and respond to patients and even add sensory cues to the virtual scene as veterans describe them: a cluster of vehicles, an explosion, an injured comrade…”

“One VR pilot program involves 12 sites led by the Asheville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in partnership with Waya Health, which develops VR platforms for patient care. The program primarily focuses on use of the technology to assess veterans’ risks for falls or neurological problems. While wearing the headsets, patients work through a series of questions that help clinicians evaluate their risk.”

“Another piece of that program addresses procedures for veterans who need surgery, for example, but cannot undergo anesthesia. Instead, they receive a nerve block and remain conscious during the operation…” Read the full article here.

Source: How the VA Is Using VR for Veterans’ Therapy – By Carolyn Shapiro, December 22, 2021. FedTech Magazine.

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