Traumatic Brain Injuries, Strokes, and Virtual Tours: #makemaypurple
While attending a networking event some months ago, I was discussing some ongoing projects with another attendee. One project that I mentioned was creating a Virtual Tour of an NHS facility, to improve patient experience; I was surprised when the individual I was speaking too said ‘we don’t work with the NHS because they don’t pay enough money…’. Not every project is about making money, but about making a difference in the lives of people. As a business, one of our key motivational forces is ‘how can we use what we do, to have a positive impact on a society and those within it’. We are passionate about people, and passionate about healthcare.
As a company, we (View3D) keep track of several charities and their upcoming events, because it’s important to do what you can for those around you. The current Covid-19 lockdown is having a significant impact on charities; difficulties retaining staff, event cancellations, and people tightening their belt. With this in mind, we want to use this platform to raise awareness of some good causes that are happening in May.
Action for Brain Injury Week takes place in May (11th-17), and the whole month is used to #makemaypurple for Stroke Awareness Month. Was it a coincidence that these have overlapping schedules? Their similarity in timing reflects their common goal; to raise awareness of, and to support individuals living with a brain injury. We are certainly not specialists in anatomy and medicine, but we want to do our part to raise awareness, and to point people in the right direction to learn more. We’ll also share why Virtual Tours can be a great tool for healthcare facilities and their users.
Let’s raise Awareness!
Stroke: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, killing brain cells. Did you know that in the UK, there are more than 100,000 strokes every year? That’s one every 5 minutes! On a global scale, someone has a stroke every two seconds. Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK. There are three types of stroke:
An Ischaemic Stroke: Caused by a blockage, cutting off the blood supply to the brain.
A Haemorrhagic Stroke: Caused by bleeding in or around the brain
A Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA): This is also known as a mini stroke and is cause by a temporary block of blood to an area of the brain.
(Learn More with The Stroke Association)
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Brain injuries can have a number of causes such as stroke, concussion, aneurysm, haemorrhage, tumour, meningitis, hypoxia, encephalitis and more. We want to shine a light specifically on Traumatic Brain Injuries. These are the result of an ‘outside’ force hitting the head (or the head hitting an outside force). Causes can include traffic accidents, assaults, falls etc. The initial trauma can then lead to further complications such as lack of oxygen to the brain, and rising pressure in the brain. Did you know that in the UK 1 million people visit A&E every year with a head injury? (Learn More with Headway)
The effects of Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury are variable depending on the location of, and size of the damaged area/areas. Problems can include difficulties with mobility, cognition, behaviour, speech and communication, swallowing, eyesight, fatigue, and continence. These can be temporary or permanent changes. Consequently, a proportion of Stroke and Brain Injury survivors require ongoing rehabilitation and support. This may take place at home, in a supported living arrangement, or in a rehabilitation unit with a specialised team of Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals. Transferring from hospital, to rehabilitation units, to supported living, and hopefully back to home, can be a difficult process for the individual and their family members. We advocate the use of virtual tours to assist with this process… Why? Read on!
Here are 5 Roles that a Virtual Tour can play in supporting individuals post TBI and Stroke on their rehabilitation journey.
1) Reduce Anxiety: A virtual tour enables patients and their loved ones to look around a rehabilitation facility prior to arrival. When the hospital team inform a patient (their family) that they will be transferring elsewhere for ongoing care, this can trigger anxieties about the unknown aspects of their future journey. A virtual tour enables them to see the bedrooms, the dining areas, the wash area, therapy rooms, gyms etc. Virtual tours have been found to reduce anxiety in healthcare by enabling users to explore a space prior to transferring to it.
2) Meet the Team: We work with healthcare providers to create videos of the professionals that work in the rehabilitation setting. Using state of the art technology means that these videos can be embedded directly into the tour and viewed while the user explores the space. This way, a patient (and family members) can become acquainted with the Consultants, Nurses, Allied Health Professionals, and other team members.
3) Establish Expectations: A common difficulty in rehabilitation for Brain Injury and Stroke is unrealistic expectations of what facilities are available, the amount of therapeutic input that a resident will receive, and the possible extent of recovery. By providing a virtual tour of the rehabilitation unit, users and family members can see the facilities from gyms to kitchens, to sensory areas, to hydrotherapy pools. By embedding videos of staff discussing their roles, they can share how much input each resident typically receives per day/week. By including links to online resources, patients and family members can be directed to accurate information regarding rehab potential (instead of from Dr. Google).
4) Orientation to Environment: Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury can have significant impacts on cognitive functions such as processing and orientation. Virtual tours can be accessed on smart phones, tablets, laptops and computers during therapy sessions to help the individual explore the environment they are in. This will help with their orientation to their environment.
5) Educate the Public: Virtual tours can be shared on social media pages and embedded onto websites. A healthcare provider could use a virtual tour to educate the public about the clinical populations that use their facilities. With the inclusion of pictures, text, videos and links to websites, tours can be used to open doors that would usually be closed to the public, and increase awareness in a dynamic and interactive platform, that captivates and informs the tour user.