Aims and objectives: To assess the effect of virtual reality distraction on pain among patients with a hand injury undergoing a dressing change.
Background: Virtual reality distraction can effectively alleviate pain among patients undergoing a dressing change. Clinical research has not addressed pain control during a dressing change.
Design: A randomised controlled trial was performed.
Methods: In the first dressing change sequence, 98 patients were randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group, with 49 cases in each group. Pain levels were compared between the two groups before and after the dressing change using a visual analog scale. The sense of involvement in virtual environments was measured using the Pearson correlation coefficient analysis, which determined the relationship between the sense of involvement and pain level.
Results: The difference in visual analog scale scores between the two groups before the dressing change was not statistically significant (t = 0·196, p > 0·05), but the scores became statistically significant after the dressing change (t = -30·792, p < 0·01). The correlation between the sense of involvement in a virtual environment and pain level during the dressing was statistically significant (R(2) = 0·5538, p < 0·05).
Conclusion: Virtual reality distraction can effectively alleviate pain among patients with a hand injury undergoing a dressing change. Better results can be obtained by increasing the sense of involvement in a virtual environment.
Relevance to clinical practice: Virtual reality distraction can effectively relieve pain without side effects and is not reliant on a doctor's prescription. This tool is convenient for nurses to use, especially when analgesics are unavailable.
Keywords: adult nursing; dressing change; hand injury; pain; virtual reality.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.