Giving a whole new layer of meaning to ‘workplace escapism’
Plenty of us have googled holiday destinations, digitally window-shopped, or tuned in to a relaxing 6-hour ‘slow’ montage to help with work stress, but at the UMCG in Groningen a unique VR programme (that was developed in the city) is being used to help intensive care workers relax by letting them watch virtual dolphins, GIC.nl reports.
Since this week, IC nurses from the UMCG can explore calming virtual 360-degree environments from an easy chair, whilst working to treat patients. During their shift, they can take turns relaxing by swimming with dolphins, sitting on a beach, taking a walk in the woods or looking at a clear starry sky. It is important for care staff to be able to step out of their work on a regular basis, to lessen the chances of over-stress and, eventually, burnout.
Care for patients with COVID-19 requires a lot from intensive care personnel, and extra attention should be paid to care workers mental health is needed because the tough working conditions will last longer.
VR relaxation was developed by VRelax in collaboration with the University Center for Psychiatry of the UMCG. It is made to help people that find it difficult to de-stress, for example those with emotionally demanding professions, or people that suffer from anxiety or depression; or patients that have to undergo severe medical treatment. Scientific research by the UMCG in patients with psychological problems showed that VR relaxation has an immediate positive effect on perceived stress and mood.
VR glasses will be available at every IC and at the Silence Center in the UMCG in the coming months. Employees of the University Center for Psychiatry and trained students will be present to help with using of VR relaxation.
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