3 October, 2023
Virtual reality to improve emergency stroke care
Emergency department nurses across NSW will gain valuable real-time experience with stroke care through new virtual reality (VR) training program being rolled out across the state.
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park today officially launched the program, which will be rolled out across 27 hospitals in NSW, with a demonstration of the immersive training at Royal North Shore Hospital.
“Stroke is a time-critical medical emergency and this technology will help to improve outcomes for people presenting with stroke,” Mr Park said.
“Fast response and treatment of stroke is vital to saving lives and improving recovery.
“By simulating a real-time scenario, this training will give emergency nurses practise in how to handle those first critical minutes.
“A total of 27 VR headsets have been distributed to regional, rural and metropolitan hospitals, with a focus on smaller hospitals where staff may have limited exposure to stroke presentations.
“It’s really pleasing to see this innovative technology being used to train nurses.”
The stroke VR nurse training program will run in all regional local health districts, including the following hospitals: Tweed, Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Moree, Armidale, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Manning, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Orange, Bathurst, Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Goulburn, Cooma, Shoalhaven, Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Deniliquin, Moruya and South East Regional Hospital (SERH).
It will also run in the Sydney, Northern Sydney and South Eastern Sydney local health districts at Royal Prince Alfred, Prince of Wales, St Vincent’s and Royal North Shore hospitals.
NSW Health Deputy Secretary Clinical Innovation and Research and Chief Executive, Agency for Clinical Innovation, Dr Jean-Frédéric Levesque, said the VR training is another innovative way the public health system is using technology to improve patient care.
“VR training gives patients and nurses access to best-practice stroke care, especially in regional areas where a local hospital does not receive the same volume of stroke patients as its city counterparts,” Dr Levesque said.
“This new training program complements the successful NSW Telestroke Service, which uses video consultation to provide people living in rural and regional NSW with rapid access to specialist stroke diagnoses and treatment.
“Telestroke is now operating in 23 hospitals across the state.”
The TACTICS VR stroke training program is a collaboration between the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the University of Newcastle Centre for Advanced Training Systems.
University of Newcastle Professor Rohan Walker said the VR nurse training follows Telestroke training already produced using the TACTICS VR platform.
“Health staff find the immersive, interactive and evidence-based training easy to use and it improves their confidence in best-practice clinical care,” Prof. Walker said.