Virtual reality: Helping hospice patients, family members forget their pain

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Before Bob came to Trillium House, he was once a man who loved to get away in nature. But with his failing health, he hasn't been able to do that quite as often as he would like. He also requested privacy during this time, and didn’t wish to disclose his last name.

"He has been having a lot of depression, anxiety, restlessness. He used to love going outside hunting and being outside,” said Bob’s Nurse, Sarah Monroe.

But, all that changed when he was introduced to virtual reality.

“Yeah, it’s been helping,” said hospice patient, Bob. "The nurse recommended it to me. She said you should get into the virtual reality. I have depression and it does help with my depression, so I said why don’t we try it.”

Through Bob's new ability to escape from reality, he travels through different worlds and forgets his pain here.

“It takes my mind away from what I shouldn't be thinking of,” said Bob.

Patients aren't the only ones who are impacted by virtual reality.

Executive Director Dave Aro says it has helped families deal with the pain of their loved being in hospice.

"Once we get them in there, and they get the googles on they've all really enjoyed it,” said Aro. "Hopefully, it's something we can continue to do and just help our families and help our hospice patients."

Aro says he's glad his board member suggested this idea. With the funds they receive from their "Dancing with Our Stars" program, they plan to continuing bringing joy to people's lives.

"I think virtual reality, when they talk about it and they smile and their happy because they got to go somewhere where they've always wanted to go is such an amazing experience for them and for me to see their happiness,” said Monroe.

If you're interested in learning more information, Edge of Reality Owner Robert Shirlin recommends coming into Edge of Reality to understand how something so simple has managed to put a big smile on many patient's faces.

Check out the first part of this story here.

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