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What is a VR SIM Training Platform? 

Virtual Reality (VR) is an interactive computer simulation in which the user is cut off from the real world, usually by a head-mounted display. Virtual reality can immerse end users with visual cues within the head-mounted display, 3D sounds, and haptic devices in which human touch interacts with machines.

Members of the team featuring SilicoLabs, creators of no-code programming in VR

Picture featuring SilicoLabs, creators of no-code programming in VR

Immersive training for dementia caregivers in Virtual Reality (VR) environments

Within virtual reality environments, virtual patients can be used to deliver individual and group therapies on a range of issues, including the Reitman Centre CARERS program. The ultimate goal is to make training and skills-building more accessible for dementia caregivers.  VR training allows caregivers to practice skills in a safe environment, make mistakes, and learn without real-world consequences. It can also allow for customization for pace-convenient training.

The eventual virtual reality simulation platform may lead to an increase in caregivers' empathy, their ability to regulate emotions, an increase in compassion, and the opportunity to connect with others.

 

The VR training platform will allow caregivers to learn skills and develop empathy and resilience by:

  1. Addressing common challenges caregivers are facing

  2. Allowing platformed learning wherein multiple pathways are available for caregivers to explore

  3. Offering an immersive environment to foster empathy and learning

  4. Offering multiple movement options to choose from and allowing users to decide the best way to explore the environment

  5. Offering brief modules allowing users to learn at their own pace and supporting new users to eliminate VR sickness

  6. Utilizing a limited number of buttons on the VR controllers to ensure usability and user friendliness 

Woman wearing VR Headset and holdig controllers

VR-SIM Carers offers an immersive and convenient environment for caregivers to practice and develop essential caregiving skills, enhancing their understanding of how to best support their relatives living with dementia, while improving their ability to care for themselves.

VR SIM Carers promises to make effective, high quality training tools accessible to ordinary Canadians so they can better care for their loved ones struggling with dementia.

Research has shown that virtual reality technology can be an effective means of fostering empathy. The VR-SIM Carers initiative serves an important purpose in offering embodied experiences that can inform, educate and enhance relationships between caregivers and persons living with dementia.

Tyler Redublo

As both a dementia caregiver and researcher, I’m hopeful about the potential of virtual reality to improve the care we provide to the dementia community. VR-SIM Carers is an exciting initiative that can make a meaningful difference for those impacted by dementia, and their loved ones!

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