Chemotherapy Patients Embrace Ground-Breaking Virtual Reality Program

Libby Jane Charleston
on 6 March 2017

Oncology patients at a Sydney cancer treatment centre are finding virtual reality experiences provide a welcome distraction from the demands of their normal visits.

Start VR is working with Samsung and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to develop a ground-breaking program to supply VR technology to help alleviate the stress for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Patients are provided with Samsung Gear VR headsets and the option to select an experience, either from the Gear VR store or Start VR’s catalogue of content.

Experiences range from transporting patients to a relaxing travel destination, plunging off an airplane in a skydiving stimulating experience, taking a boat ride through the Sydney Harbour, snorkelling through sparkling blue waters and getting close to koalas at a zoo.

The initiative was launched by Start VR’s Head of Content, Martin Taylor, who collaborated with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Samsung Australia to bring the partnership to life.

Taylor told Women Love Tech the main goal was to create compelling virtual reality content that make a positive impact on the lives of patients.

“We wanted to determine if VR had the potential to change people’s outlook on their current environment and we felt that a healthcare setting, where people sit and wait for periods of time, worried about unknown outcomes would be the right place to start,” says Martin.

“Though after months of theory and planning, the true reward was meeting these incredible patients and seeing them experience instant joy through the power of VR.”

“Exploring the application of VR in healthcare, highlights an exciting pathway for this burgeoning medium and we are proud to leverage what we are learning to continually push boundaries in VR content creation.”

Thriving on the inclusion of cutting edge research, discoveries and uncompromising care, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse embraces virtual reality as a treatment support option for their patients and had clinical staff guiding and supervising to ensure patient safety.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Complementary Therapy Director Michael Marthick says that allowing patients to escape the experience of chemotherapy gives them a bit of space to forget what’s going on.

“In settings such as before surgery, patients are even more anxious. This gives them a distraction and allows them to keep their spirits up. Wellness isn’t just about the physical side of things, it’s also about mental wellbeing,” says Michael.

Start VR is a cinematic virtual reality studio, creating highly immersive experiences and interactive content. A leader in longer form VR entertainment, the company is known for its compelling narratives, and best of class, blockbuster-quality visuals.


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