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Virtual reality as the next step in patient empowerment

Virtual reality (VR) has been used in training for doctors and nurses for a number of years now. Our VR-based training for Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) goes one step further: Not only is it suitable for clinical staff, it can also be used by clinics to educate their CAPD patients.

In home dialysis, patients perform most of their own treatment at home, only going regularly to their dialysis center to check that things are as they should be. This means good training is especially important for home dialysis patients. As Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) uses the peritoneum as the dialysis membrane, patients can perform this form of treatment largely by themselves at home or at their workplace, allowing them to maintain a high quality of life in spite of chronic kidney failure. At the dialysis center or clinic, the patient and trainer spend several days practicing how to use the dialysis equipment, and the patient learns about hygiene measures and the steps to be taken before and after treatment.

This in-person CAPD training has now been supplemented by virtual training. It can simulate any environment, such as a living room. The patient uses a controller to interact with the virtual environment and perform tasks like preparing the simulated treatment room – including cleaning the table with a disinfectant wipe, picking up and putting down objects like the dialysis bag and disinfection cap, and adjusting the dialysis machine.

Images are combined with language and interactive elements to make VR training especially appealing and realistic. It guides patients through every step of peritoneal dialysis treatment using the stay•safe system, including changing the bag and using the stay•safe DISC.

Patients can carry out the individual training modules at their own pace and repeat them as often as needed until they have mastered them to supplement the lessons learned with the trainer. The training is available in several languages so that more patients can learn in their native language. The aim of stay•safe MyTraining VR is to expand the range of training opportunities for home treatment and help patients enjoy a successful start to home dialysis. Currently, the stay•safe MyTraining VR is only available in Germany, but a rollout to other countries is planned for 2022.

How the VR training works:

The trainer explains the functions of the VR headset. There are four languages to choose from.

The VR headset can be adjusted in width for a comfortable and secure fit. The cushioned rim of the headset provides further wearing comfort.

The trainer explains the control buttons.

The trainer helps the patient put on the VR headset and makes sure it is secure. An adjustable strap ensures a good fit.

A sturdy chair with space around it to move is important to perform the individual exercise steps correctly.

The patient is greeted by a virtual trainer who guides through the various exercise steps.

An overview chart helps the patient to know what stage of the program they are currently at. The different sections can be repeated as often as needed.

The equipment for peritoneal dialysis treatment is ready – including disinfectant, dialysis bag and infusion stand.

After a short briefing, the patient requires less close supervision. The trainer can follow the virtual training session on the computer.

It is important to communicate closely with the patient to ensure that they feel confident with this type of training and can put what they have learned into practice.

stay•safe MyTraining VR and the VR glasses themselves are not medical devices. They were created to supplement Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) training. This virtual training demonstrates the use of the stay•safe system. The stay•safe system for CAPD treatment contains the DISC and PIN safety features as well as the necessary peritoneal dialysis (PD) fluids.

To learn more about VR Education in North America, read the full press release here.

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