Purpose/objectives: To determine the effects of virtual reality (VR) glasses on adolescents with cancer undergoing lumbar punctures (LPs).
Design: Pilot study using an experimental, control group design.
Setting: In-hospital oncology clinic.
Sample: 30 adolescents with cancer (17 in the VR and 13 in the control group) undergoing frequent LPs.
Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to groups. Both groups received standard intervention during the LP, but the experimental group also wore VR glasses and watched a video. Following the LP, both groups rated their pain using a visual analog scale (VAS) and were interviewed to evaluate their experience.
Main research variables: Pain, subjective evaluation of experience.
Findings: Although VAS pain scores were not statistically different between the two groups (p = 0.77), VAS scores tended to be lower in the VR group (median VAS of 7.0, range 0-48) than in the control group (median VAS of 9.0, range 0-59). 77% of subjects in the experimental group said the VR glasses helped to distract them from the LP.
Conclusions: VR glasses are a feasible, age-appropriate, nonpharmacologic adjunct to conventional care in managing the pain associated with LPs in adolescents.
Implications for practice: The clinical application of various age-appropriate distracters to reduce pain in adolescents undergoing painful procedures should be explored.