Dorothy House partners with Forestry England for VR project

By Ben Carey on 9 April, 2024

Dorothy House has partnered with Forestry England on a virtual reality (VR) project supporting end-of-life care patients.

360° Virtual Reality Forest Bathing videos have been created by the Immersive Technology in Healthcare Team – an award-winning VR project funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation via Hospice UK.

The project trials the use of virtual reality to help reduce symptoms and improve relaxation in patients from the comfort of their own homes, or from day patient and inpatient units.

Using 360° cameras, the project team has been creating immersive videos that virtually transport patients outdoors. Forestry England has given permission for Dorothy House to upload 18 forest bathing videos to the VR platform.

Alongside Forestry England’s contribution, Dorothy House Hospice Care recently added five new videos to the VR platform including a tour of Dorothy House Hospice Care and the grounds in Winsley, a nature walk from Avoncliff to the Firefly Woods in the grounds of Winsley House, and paddleboarding relaxation along the river Avon.

Marika Hills, Deputy Director of Patient & Family Services at Dorothy House  has been working on the service improvement project since 2021 alongside Dr Darren Hart (Clinical Scientist) and other colleagues from Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

She said, “We always focus on what matters most to our patients, so offering a personal, accessible experience which can help to reduce pain and anxiety is really exciting. This technology has a huge amount of scope, and we’re really keen to see how it can benefit not only our patients, but also be more broadly be applied to other areas of patient care.”

Ellen Devine, Wellbeing Projects Manager at Forestry England, added, “With a vast network of 1,500 woods and forests attracting hundreds of millions of visits annually, we understand the profound impact of nature on our wellbeing.

“We also know that sometimes it’s not possible to visit a forest. That’s why we created our virtual forest wellbeing videos, allowing users to experience the benefits of forest bathing from anywhere. Whether you’re seeking a moment of calm or looking to support others on their wellness journey, our videos offer a transformative experience.

“We’re proud to collaborate with Dorothy House Hospice Care, integrating our virtual forest bathing videos into their patient care programmes.”

You can watch some of the forest bathing videos by clicking here.