Despite the best efforts of our medical caregivers, certain medical procedures can be painful or unpleasant. Do we just “grin and bear it,” or can we come up with better methods to mitigate the pain? Do we have to suffer when, for example, the use of an anesthetic is prohibitive for a short but painful procedure?

Not if Hadassah Medical Organization nurses can help it. In our hospitals in Jerusalem, nurses are introducing virtual-reality headsets so patients can focus on calming landscapes during unloved procedures. Research has shown that virtual reality helps in making surgical procedures less painful and anxiety-producing, and can even improve outcomes. It’s the idea of Hadassah’s Research and Innovation Center in Nursing, directed by Sigal Shafran Tikva, the only such center of its kind in Israel. “Nurses are already adept at thinking on their feet and finding solutions for problems as they arise,” Tikva says. “This formalizes their ideas.”

Personal Oncology Nurse Coordinator at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Dalia Gordon approached the innovation center to find a way to help patients when they go home and inevitably come up with questions. The center developed a chatbot, not a “leave your name and we’ll get back to you” message center but a way for patients to get answers to their pressing questions in real-time. The Orthopedics Department is already using the new approach.

Photo source: virtual-reality headsets on Wikipedia