3-Dimensional nature-based therapeutics in pediatric patients with total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplant

Nicholas Kucher, Jean M. Larson, Gwenyth Fischer, Megan Mertaugh, Loralie Peterson, Lynn A. Gershan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Virtual Reality (VR) has been increasingly employed as a therapeutic means to help patients reduce stress, anxiety, and pain. While it has been shown to be effective in multiple settings, there is still scant literature referencing its use in the pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) and none using VR longitudinally as a vehicle for mindful focus utilizing natural environments. Objectives: This proof of concept study aims to demonstrate that the use of 3-D Nature-Based Therapy (NBT) glasses will lead to a reduction in pain, nausea, and anxiety in children and adolescents undergoing Total Pancreatectomy Islet Auto-Transplant (TPIAT). Methods: Six pediatric patients (8–18 yr.) scheduled to receive TPIAT were recruited over a one-year period. Patients rated their symptoms using various scoring methods, including a novel nature-based anxiety scale. If VR was used prior to a physical therapy session, this was also noted. Patients then utilized the Oculus ™ VR device and re-scored their symptoms. Interviews were performed at entry to study, post-ICU, and at hospital discharge. Results: Four of six recruited patients utilized the VR device, three of whom completed pre- and post-use scores during 11 encounters, though many other encounters occurred without scoring. Of the two patients not utilizing the device, one chose to use other means of distraction and the other reported nausea and chose not to use device. Of the patients who utilized the device, there was a net decrease in symptom scores after use, including the use of the nature-based scale which mimicked both validated scales. On survey results, all patients who utilized the device found it to be “enjoyable” and “helpful”, either “would” or “might use” it again, and “would recommend it to others” for use. Conclusions: In this proof of concept study, children in a critical care setting were able to utilize VR devices for NBT after extensive surgical procedures. Initial quantitative scoring systems suggest overall improvement in symptom management, and reactions by both patients and their parents were overall positive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102249
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2020

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


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