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Comparing novel virtual reality and nursing standard care on burn wound care pain in adolescents: A randomized controlled trial

J Spec Pediatr Nurs. 2023 Dec 14:e12419. doi: 10.1111/jspn.12419. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: This study compared the effectiveness of age-appropriate, high technology, interactive virtual reality (VR) distraction with standard care (SC) provided by the nurse on adolescents’ acute procedural pain intensity perception during burn wound care treatment in the ambulatory clinic setting.

DESIGN: This randomized controlled trial included 43 adolescents ages 10-21 from the ambulatory burn clinic of a large children’s hospital.

METHODS: Blinded study participants were randomly assigned to either VR or SC (non-significantly different, current mean burn surface area, 1.3 and 1.7, respectively) during the first burn wound care procedure in the burn clinic. Blinded research staff collected pre-procedure data including Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and postprocedure wound care pain intensity using the Adolescent Pediatric Pain Tool. A total of 41 participants completed all study procedures.

RESULTS: No statistically significant difference in burn wound care procedural pain was noted between the VR and SC groups after adjusting for several factors. Pre-procedure state and trait anxiety correlated with reported pre-procedure pain. Wound care pain was found to be significantly associated with pre-wound care pain score, time from original burn to clinic burn care treatment, and length of wound care treatment. These factors accounted for approximately 45% of the variation in pain scores during wound care treatment.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: VR distraction can be a useful pain management strategy but may not take the place of the unique nurse-patient relationship that occurs during clinical encounters. Tailoring pain management during burn wound care requires consideration of anxiety, time from the burn injury to the wound care procedure, length of time of the wound care procedure, and pretreatment pain level. Knowing patients’ needs, desires, and temperaments along with the specifics about the healthcare procedures are critical to formulating individualized care plans that may or may not include VR. Newer technology, such as easier-to-use, less expensive VR, may assist with translation into practice making its clinical use more routine.

PMID:38095116 | DOI:10.1111/jspn.12419

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