Virtual reality intervention for older women with breast cancer.
This study examined the effects of a virtual reality distraction intervention on chemotherapy-related symptom distress levels in 16 women aged 50 and older. A cross-over design was used to answer the following research questions: (1) Is virtual reality an effective distraction intervention for reducing chemotherapy-related symptom distress levels in older women with breast cancer? (2) Does virtual reality have a lasting effect? Chemotherapy treatments are intensive and difficult to endure. One way to cope with chemotherapy-related symptom distress is through the use of distraction. For this study, a head-mounted display (Sony PC Glasstron PLM - S700) was used to display encompassing images and block competing stimuli during chemotherapy infusions. The Symptom Distress Scale (SDS), Revised Piper Fatigue Scale (PFS), and the State Anxiety Inventory (SAI) were used to measure symptom distress. For two matched chemotherapy treatments, one pre-test and two post-test measures were employed. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the VR distraction intervention during one chemotherapy treatment and received no distraction intervention (control condition) during an alternate chemotherapy treatment. Analysis using paired t-tests demonstrated a significant decrease in the SAI (p = 0.10) scores immediately following chemotherapy treatments when participants used VR. No significant changes were found in SDS or PFS values. There was a consistent trend toward improved symptoms on all measures 48 h following completion of chemotherapy. Evaluation of the intervention indicated that women thought the head mounted device was easy to use, they experienced no cybersickness, and 100% would use VR again.
Schneider, SM; Ellis, M; Coombs, WT; Shonkwiler, EL; Folsom, LC
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