Use of Virtual Reality Videos to Reduce Anxiety for Radiation Oncology Patients
Purpose: To implement a non-pharmacologic approach to reduce anxiety in patients receiving radiation treatment.
Background and Significance: Anxiety is a prevalent health problem affecting up to 30% of the general population. Over 95% of radiation oncology patients report anxiety often related to not knowing what to expect during treatments. The current guideline for management of anxiety is the use of benzodiazepines; which can impose a risk to patients. Evidence demonstrates virtual reality videos can be an effective non-pharmacologic approach to reduce anxiety..
Design: Observational cohort evidence based project.
Setting: Outpatient radiation oncology facility in the Southwest United States.
Sample: 40 patients who have not previously undergone radiation therapy, but have been prescribed radiation treatments for malignant or non malignant conditions.
Methods: Patients who had not previously undergone radiation treatments were identified based on chart review and consented for participation in the project. The patient's were assessed for both their general (trait) anxiety and situational (state) anxiety using The State Trait Anxiety inventory (STAI). They were then shown a virtual reality video that walked them through what they would experience during their radiation treatment. The patient's were re-administered the STAI questionnaire following the video to assess any change in anxiety levels.
Variables: Trait and State anxiety scores before and after the virtual reality video intervention.
Findings/Outcomes: A paired t-test was conducted to assess the data. There was a significant difference in the state anxiety scores pre intervention (m = 32.65, SD = 11.47) and post intervention (M = 25.50, SD 8.95), p =< 0.001.
Conclusions: The use of virtual reality videos was an effective non-pharmacological approach to reduce anxiety in patients receiving radiation treatment.
Implications for nursing: The results provide support for the use of a virtual reality intervention as a non-pharmacologic option to reduce anxiety for patients.