Embodied VR ExperiencesOur innovative, research-based VR experiences allow caregivers, staff, and trainees to embody a person with a specific condition and learn what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
Our Approach to VR Storytelling
We build authentic, meaningful virtual reality narratives powered by embodied and experiential learning theories. We use an innovative combination of filmmaking, software development, educational design, and interactive media to create engaging experiences your staff will look forward to using.
The Dima Lab
Lewy Body Dementia & Parkinson’s Disease
Topic: The related and differing symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia & Parkinson’s Disease; how families navigate care when symptoms due to changes in the brain cause challenges; understanding how cultural affects care decisions; care transitions to residential care communities.
Summary: The learner will embody Dima, a Lebanese-American immigrant living with symptoms of both Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease as she transitions from receiving care at home to care in a residential community.
Recognize the symptoms of LBD and PD.
Identify effective ways of helping a person with PD/LBD who is experiencing anxiety, agitation, or hallucinations.
Recognize when emotional and/or physical burnout, financial burden, or safety may necessitate help from professional care agencies and/or residential care communities.
Identify ways that residential care communities can care for older adults with unique needs due to their cultural or disease presentation.
Part 1 - "A Changing Brain & Body"
Topics: Understanding symptoms of LBD & PD; family adjustments to care needs of the person living with the disease.
Summary: The learner embodies Dima as she cares for her grandchildren while trying to adjust to living with PD symptoms when doing basic tasks like writing; has disrupted sleep and hallucinations; has trouble moving/standing; and helps make decisions about her care and changing life.
Part 2 - "Managing Care Decisions"
Topics: Understanding the unique challenges of personality changes in a person with LBD and physical symptoms of PD; family/doctor communication about LBD/PD; cultural competency; understanding care options.
Summary: The learner embodies Dima as her symptoms begin to affect her personality, has hallucinations that affect her family, has a fall and breaks her hip, and discusses her care options with her physician and family.
Part 3 - "From Home to Community Care"
Topics: How continuing care communities support persons living with diseases and their families; accommodations necessary for continuing care communities to provide person-centered care for residents with unique needs.
Summary: The learner embodies Dima as she moves into her new residential community and adjusts to life there.
The Clay Lab
End of Life Conversations
Topic: End of Life Conversations
Summary: The learner will embody Clay Crowder, a 66-year old veteran with stage IV, incurable lung cancer.
Experience what it is like to receive "bad news" from your doctor, and discuss your options.
Have conversations with your family and members of the healthcare team about transitioning to hospice care.
Get assistance from the hospice care team in understanding your symptoms and conflicts that may occur within your family.
See the physical changes inside your body as it nears the end of life.
Experience what may happen at the end of your life.
Part 1 - "Receiving a Terminal Diagnosis"
Topics: Effective communication skills when sharing difficult information, effective communication with families, changing adult & child relationships when healthcare decisions are made, veteran health issues, and cultural competency.
Summary: The learner embodies Clay as he goes with his family to his oncologist, then receives the news that there are no longer effective curative treatments for his cancer.
Part 2 - "Transitioning to home hospice"
Topics: Interprofessional communication, effective communication about hospice care, effective communication during family conflict & resolution, role definition of the hospice care team, end-of-life symptom presentation, and end-of-life symptom management & control.
Summary: The learner embodies Clay as he experiences a fall related to his disease, has a visit to the ER, interacts with a compassionate nurse, decides to start home hospice, and interacts with members of the hospice team.
Part 3 - "Last Days"
Topic: Active dying visualization of the body, effects of pain medication, end-of-life symptom presentation in the last days, interprofessional communication, effective communication with families, effective communication when discussing difficult information, role definition of the hospice care team, post-mortem care, care for veterans at the end-of-life.
Summary: The learner sees a visual representation of what active dying looks like in the body & the effects of pain medication on organ systems, then embodies Clay as he enters his final days, receives care from hospice and his family, has his pain controlled by medication, shows signs of active dying, experiences the end of life, and is transported to the funeral home as an honored veteran.
The Beatriz Lab
A Journey through Alzheimer's Disease (AD)
Topic: Loss of Cognitive Functions due to progressive AD.
Summary: The learner will embody Beatriz, a middle-aged Latina woman, as she progresses through early, middle, and late stage Alzheimer’s Disease. (AD).
Recognize that AD affects more parts of the brain than just those involved with memory.
Identify ways that AD affects communication in the brain.
Recognizes that changes in visual and auditory processing due to AD can disrupt activities of daily living.
Describe ways that a person with AD can be redirected, calmed, and engaged.
Identify ways that their role in communication and teamwork between the patient, their families, healthcare personnel and systems contribute to the quality of life of a person with AD.
Describe ways that a person with AD can have relationships and enjoy life despite their progressing disease.
Part 1 - "Early Stage AD"
Topics: Early signs and symptoms of AD, changes in family relationships, daily living with mild cognitive impairment.
Summary: The learner embodies Beatriz and realizes her brain is changing, struggles with cognitive processes in public and family life, and finds a way to talk to her family about being sick.
Part 2 - "Middle Stage AD"
Topics: Visual representation of what progressing AD looks like in the brain, signs and symptoms of middle stage AD, caregiver burnout, family conflict over care decisions, role of the nurse case manager, resources for families affected by AD
Summary: The learner sees the way AD affects neurotransmitters inside Beatriz’s brain, embodies Beatriz and experiences hallucinations, becomes confused at home and needs help, and attends a family meeting where decisions are being made about her future.
Part 3 - "Late Stage AD"
Topic: Signs and symptoms of late stage AD, caregiver burnout, role of the CNA, family relationships, power of music and memory.
Summary: The learner embodies Beatriz as she receives care from a CNA, sees her family struggle with emotions related to her progressing AD, and experiences moments of joy during a holiday.
The Alfred Lab
Part 1 - "We are Alfred"
Topics: Advanced macular degeneration, high-frequency hearing loss, affect of family relationships on health status, navigating the healthcare system with impairments, role of the doctor, cognitive assessments.
Summary: The learner will embody Alfred, a 74-year old African-American man with macular degeneration and high frequency hearing loss, as he spends time with family, visits the doctor, and receives a diagnosis.
Recognize that communication is affected by the two most common aging processes - hearing and vision loss.
Describe insights about the perspective and feelings of an aging adult.
Identify ways that the learner's role in communication and teamwork between the patient, their families, healthcare personnel and systems contribute to the quality of life of a person with macular degeneration and hearing loss.
Part 2 - "At the Peripheral"
Topic: Living with macular degeneration
Summary: Follow six people living with macular degeneration.
Identify ways people with macular degeneration can use technology and assistive devices to improve their quality of life.
Describe what happens inside an eyeball getting progressively worse macular degeneration.
"I believe that the VR experience helped me not only understand disease processes better, but understand what a patient goes through — through our own eyes — helps me better therapeutically communicate as well as learn practically how to do that. All of those things I believe are going to enhance patient centered care — and that's what we want to do as nurses!"
— Student, CSU Channel Islands Nursing program