Virtual Reality and Medical Inpatients: A Systematic Review of Randomized, Controlled Trials

Virtual reality's immersive, entertaining effects are useful for redirecting the patient’s attention away from painful treatment experiences and reducing anxiety, discomfort, or unpleasantness. VR has been utilized in many studies to distract (often pediatric) patients during wound redressing in burn care, and in exposure therapy for phobias or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a substitute for imagination of a feared environment. VR has been used to treat eating disorders and obesity, allowing patients to improve body image perceptions and promote healthier eating habits by inhabiting realistic avatars in stress-inducing virtual situations, such as food shopping. VR is also used for patient motor rehabilitation, aiding patients to reacquire specific skills and improve body movement in virtual environments that are less dull or discouraging than standard gym exercises.

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