Virtual Reality Program Helps Promote Empathy and Better Care
St. John’s is in the midst of a push to employ the latest technology to ensure that residents receive the best possible living experience. One of these programs was recently highlighted in the local media as a way to assist those providing direct care for residents living with progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Embodied Labs provides several VR-based programs that can help employees, volunteers, and family members better emphathize with residents living with chronic conditions including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and vision/hearing loss. St. John’s recently incorporated Embodied Labs sessions into orientation and training after a group of employees trialed the program at an industry conference. So far, over two dozen people have taken part in the training program.
St. John’s Dementia/Quality of Life Specialist Mimi DeVinney has led the charge to employ Embodied Labs into staff training. She feels there are great benefits that come from experiencing the emotions and physical limitations that can come with a diagnosis of a chronic illness. “We want those things to kind of stay with them and have that inform their care when they are taking care of people and talking to family members,” explains DeVinney. “They can explain it to them– this is what your loved one is going through and this is why maybe (they do not) respond the way you expect them to when you say things to them.”
Volunteer John Gramkee has several ties to St. John’s. His wife was a resident living with dementia at St. John’s Home for over four years. John recently tried the Embodied Labs “A Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease” program and believes the experience can help caregivers, loved ones, and anyone who interacts with people living with memory impairment. “I wish I had something like this before,” he said.
See Spectrum News story on new virtual reality tool by clicking here.