Virtual Reality for Symptom Management in Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Quality Improvement Initiative

Colleen Vega

Robin L. Whitney

Josef Hannah

Grant Smith

virtual reality, symptoms, stem cell transplantation, comfort theory
ONF 2022, 49(3), 233-241. DOI: 10.1188/22.ONF.233-241

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of virtual reality (VR) on symptom distress, such as depression, anxiety, and pain, experienced by individuals receiving allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Sample & Setting: 20 participants aged 19–70 years (median age of 56.5 years) who were hospitalized in an academic setting received as many as two sessions of VR per week for two weeks.

Methods & Variables: Before and after each session, participants completed the revised Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS-r) to evaluate their symptoms. Paired t tests were later conducted.

Results: VR sessions showed significant improvement in 8 of the 10 symptoms addressed in ESAS-r.

Implications for Nursing: VR can improve symptoms in patients following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in a hospital setting, provide a low-cost intervention to treat symptoms, and support future investigations exploring how VR affects prolonged hospitalizations related to distressing symptoms.

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