Extended reality (XR) technology such as virtual and augmented reality is increasingly being utilised in paediatric medicine due to its role in medical education and reported positive impacts on outcomes including pain, anxiety, and sleep. To the author’s knowledge, no previous reviews investigating the use of XR in paediatric intensive care have been undertaken.
To scope the use of XR in paediatric intensive care, and assess its barriers to adoption, including safety considerations, cleaning and infection control.
All articles of any methodological design discussing the use of XR within paediatric intensive and critical care were included.
Sources of evidence:
Four databases (EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychInfo, PubMed) and Google Scholar were searched without any limitations on publication year.
Data was extracted into Microsoft Excel by two authors independently (AG & SF) and cross-checked for completeness.
One hundred and eighty-eight articles were originally identified. Following the application of eligibility criteria 16 articles utilising XR in clinical interventions (n = 7) and medical education (n = 9) were included. Articles utilised VR and AR for highly variable purposes within both medical education (eg disaster preparedness, intubation) and clinical interventions (eg decrease pain, nausea, anxiety and improve Glasgow Coma Scale).
While research into the use of XR in paediatric intensive care is still in its infancy it has increased dramatically over the past 5 years within two key areas. Firstly, in healthcare education, to assist in the acquisition of PICU-specific knowledge and practice of skills such as intubation of difficult airways. Secondly, studies have evaluated and demonstrated that with appropriate use, VR appears to be a safe and feasible intervention to decrease pain and anxiety in PICU patients.