There are many technological advancements today, and virtual reality is no longer limited to the gaming and entertainment industry. It has slowly but surely made its way into other fields and healthcare is becoming one of the most common and popular ones.
Virtual reality can be applied in many healthcare sectors and this technology has lately been significantly implemented in occupational therapy. According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), occupational therapy is a profession that has the goal to enhance health and well-being through activity. Occupational therapists work towards this goal by enabling people to carry out activities that increase their ability to participate or to modify the environment to have better participation.
In general, VR in occupational therapy focuses on mental health issues and chronic pain recovery, and whether you’re suffering from phobias or a certain physical disability that came as a result of a stroke or accident, you should consider virtual occupational therapy to help you get back to your normal way of living, even from the comfort of your own home.
Below, we look at 4 reasons why you should start visual occupational therapy today.
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Increased Patient Engagement
Unlike other conventional treatment methods, VR occupational therapy is without a doubt a more engaging and encouraging way of helping people. By simply using a VR headset, patients are immersed in a virtual environment that quickly grabs their attention and allows them to interact with 3D worlds using several senses like vision, hearing, touch, and movement.
Therapy can often end up feeling tedious and make patients lose their motivation because of the same exercises repeated, unlike a virtual experience which does not strain or frustrate them with such exercises. On the contrary, VR is interactive and allows patients to take their minds off of the fact that they’ve just finished a set of repetitions of the same movement while accomplishing a high score. In addition, they receive immediate feedback on their results which further motivates and encourages them to continue their therapy sessions.
Higher Comfort Levels
Most people hate going to the doctor, the hospital, and even to a therapy facility. This leads to many patients refusing to undergo any type of therapy sessions which ultimately doesn’t help them with their pain and health problems.
This is where patients benefit most from VR occupational technology as it allows them to receive their treatment right from the comfort of their homes. Even for the most difficult health conditions and injuries, where patients must have adjustable in home hospital beds to cater to their needs and improve their quality of life, VR occupational therapy can contribute to an easier recovery as it makes the entire process a lot less stressful for patients.
This can particularly be helpful for people suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias. The immersive setting will make them feel safe, relaxed, and free to engage in the therapy session without having to worry about possible panic attacks or elevated anxiety levels.
Open Line of Communication
Every patient has their own specific needs and wants so a professional and licensed VR occupational therapist will be assigned to each patient to support them along the way to recovery. Usually, such specialized therapists design a personalized treatment based on the needs and conditions and then they carefully monitor the progress and update the plan if necessary.
This helps to have constant and improved communication with your therapist as you can chat with them between sessions through an in-app messaging system or via private videos. You can ask them for assistance and guidance and ask about anything that is on your mind or troubles you about the entire experience. It allows you to get in contact at any time without having to wait until your next therapy appointment.
Another important reason why you should consider starting virtual occupational therapy is that it can save you a lot of money and time by not having to travel to the hospital and get costly in-hospital treatments. For people who live far from such medical facilities, it means they have to spend a significant amount of money on gas or the bus fare just to get to the hospital and receive their treatment.
However, by choosing VR therapy, patients can enjoy their sessions at home without having to stress about catching the bus and commuting to undergo their sessions. This not only helps save more money on traveling and other unexpected expenses that may come along with the treatment. This can also include medication costs as VR occupational therapy is also drug-free, meaning you won’t need to spend additional money on medications to improve whatever it is you’re treating.
Regardless of what physical or mental condition you might be suffering from, VR occupational therapy can give you a smooth recovery and improve the way you perform your daily tasks. The best part about virtual occupational therapy is that it is a cost-effective method that you can do from the comfort of your home by simply putting on a VR headset that immerses you in an interactive 3D environment, all while being guided by a specialized VR occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy practitioners have recognized the benefits of VR’s immersive and interactive properties as they’ve witnessed their patients’ active engagement in therapy, enhanced physical performance, and self-confidence.