Dorothy House Virtual Reality Project partners with Forestry England

  • 21 March, 2024
  • News

Dorothy House is proud to be a part of the Immersive Technology in Healthcare Team – a Virtual Reality (VR) project, funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation via Hospice UK and their ‘Re-imagining Day Patient Services’ funding programme. The project trials the use of virtual reality to help reduce symptoms and improve relaxation in patients.

Using 360°cameras, the project team has been creating immersive videos that virtually transport patients outdoors.

Virtual forest bathing with Forestry England

Forestry England has kindly given permission for Dorothy House to upload 18 forest bathing videos to the 360 virtual reality platform. This means that patients visiting the Day Patient Unit, or receiving treatment in their homes and out in the community will be able to access the videos, even if they are unable to leave their beds.

Forest bathing for VR

“With a vast network of 1,500 woods and forests attracting hundreds of millions of visits annually, we understand the profound impact of nature on our wellbeing.

Forestry England - Dorothy HouseWe also know that sometimes it’s not possible to visit a forest. That’s why we created our virtual forest wellbeing videos, allowing users to experience the benefits of forest bathing from anywhere. Whether you’re seeking a moment of calm or looking to support others on their wellness journey, our videos offer a transformative experience.

We’re proud to collaborate with Dorothy House Hospice Care, integrating our virtual forest bathing videos into their patient care programmes.” – Forestry England

You can watch some of their forest bathing videos by clicking here.

Fireflies in Firefly Wood lit up at dusk

Along with Forestry England’s wonderful virtual reality offering, we have also recently added five new videos to the platform:

  • Tour of Dorothy House Hospice Care in Winsley
  • A nature walk from Avoncliff to the Firefly Woods in the grounds of Winsley House
  • A nature walk in Green Lane Woods  – A Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve
  • Paddleboarding relaxation along the Avon
  • Cornish beach relaxation

Virtual reality at Dorothy House

Marika Hills, Deputy Director of Patient & Family Services at Dorothy House and representatives of many multidisciplinary teams across the Hospice have been working on the service improvement project since 2021 alongside Dr. Darren Hart (Clinical Scientist) and other RUH colleagues.

“We always focus on what matters most to our patients, so offering a personal, accessible experience which can help to reduce pain and anxiety is really exciting. This technology has a huge amount of scope, and we’re really keen to see how it can benefit not only our patients, but also be more broadly be applied to other areas of patient care.” – Marika Hills

We are currently using the virtual reality headsets successfully with patients experiencing pain and anxiety. To date, the technology has been available to all day patientsrespite and blood transfusion patients. Results have been so successful that we are now investigating how to widen the reach and roll it out to the Inpatient Unit and into the community.