Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s leading provider of products and services for individuals with renal diseases, has started using virtual reality (VR) technology to train patients to perform peritoneal dialysis. The stay•safe MyTraining VR is being offered first in Germany and will be extended to other countries in the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region later this year.
In peritoneal dialysis, which is used by about 11 percent of the approximately 3.7 million dialysis patients worldwide, the lining of the patient’s abdominal cavity – the peritoneum – acts as the filter for cleaning the blood. To learn how to correctly use Fresenius Medical Care’s stay•safe System for continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), home dialysis patients undergo comprehensive training in a dialysis clinic. stay•safe MyTraining VR is now supporting this training with the VR technology. The hardware comprises VR glasses and an easy-to-use controller. In various training modules, patients learn all aspects of the dialysis process, including hygiene procedures, preparation and post-therapy steps, bag-changing and operation of the stay•safe DISC.
Each training module can be adjusted to the patient’s own pace and repeated as often as needed until the patient has mastered it. While the patient trains, the nursing personnel can focus on other important tasks, for example by simultaneously assisting several other patients.
“The VR training appeals to several of the patients’ senses and this makes it especially easy to learn new procedures,” said Christoph Hame, Nursing Manager at NephroCare Germany, the service division of Fresenius Medical Care. “The VR glasses block out outside stimuli, so the patients stay focused. They can move around in the virtual room and reach for things. With this playful learning, the content is held better in the memory. Also, the standardized learning units make the training more secure, because the contents are imparted in the same way in every dialysis clinic. We offer the training in different languages, and can therefore overcome language barriers.”
The stay•safe MyTraining VR is aimed at both new and experienced home dialysis patients, who regularly update their knowledge at monthly check-ups. Patients can also be more easily included in the process of deciding which form of therapy is best for them. With the use of the VR glasses they can even learn how to handle the stay•safe System before the implantation of a catheter, which is required for the treatment.
“We want to make home dialysis possible for ever more patients,” said Dr. Katarzyna Mazur-Hofsäß, Fresenius Medical Care’s Chief Executive Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Part of this is preparing them and their family members for the challenges and changes that come along with it. With the VR training we are doing exactly that. Patients, their family members and care partners can be familiarized with the usage in a very practical, impactful way. This lowers their inhibitions and helps them with the decision on whether peritoneal dialysis at home is right for them. And it contributes to the design of home therapy that is sustainably patient-friendly and safe.”