Answer: Virtual reality.
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been introducing virtual reality as a new pain management technique. The hospital’s Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology (CHARIOT) program has implemented hospitalwide access to virtual reality as a method of alleviating pain and/or anxiety in pediatric patients.
According to the CHARIOT program page on the hospital’s website, “Packard Children’s is one of the first hospitals to begin implementing VR therapy in every patient unit.” The program uses Samsung Gear VR headsets to let children play games or take virtual trips to places like Yosemite. While the patients are immersed in their VR experience, hospital staff can administer IVs, change dressings and perform other painful procedures that previously made the children nervous. The system is also being used as a drug-free method of alleviating anxiety before and after procedures.