Virtual Reality Helps Hospice Workers See Life And Death Through A Patient’s Eyes
December 27, 201812:18 PM ET KATHLEEN BURGE
Researchers have discovered that virtual reality simulations like this one, can make viewers more empathetic to people they virtually embody: people of different races; people with colorblindness; even an avatar of an older version of themselves.
The United Nations has created about 20 virtual reality films, including one about a 12-year-old Syrian refugee and another profiling a Liberian woman whose family died from Ebola.
Last month, Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which studies the link between virtual reality and empathy, found that people shown an immersive VR film built around the experience of a homeless man
At the Royal Trinity Hospice in London, a dying woman and her husband revisited Venice, where they had gotten engaged — the simulation was part of a larger study about VR’s effect on physical and psychological symptoms at the end of life. Another woman walked the beaches of the Maldives. A third returned to Jerusalem, the city where she grew up.
Virtual reality may also encourage people to plan for the end of life, says Marilyn Gugliucci, director of geriatric education and research at the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
More on virtual reality and empathy in this IMS blog: