Transforming Aged Care with Virtual Reality is a collaboration between the QUT Design Lab, Griffith University, The University of Melbourne and La Trobe University to investigate whether the integration of virtual reality into six Australian aged care facilities in Queensland and Victoria has an impact on staff and resident social connection.

Thanks to the generosity of a philanthropic research grant from Facebook, our research team collaborated over 2021-2022 to document (i) the experience of using VR – virtual reality – in aged care, from the perspective of residents and carers; and (ii) share practical tips to guide aged care management and staff through the process of integrating VR into their practice.

Please look at our  Transformational Toolkit to learn how you can implement Virtual Reality (VR) in your aged care residence, or watch our videos (on YouTube):

 

As part of The Big Anxiety events at QUT in May 2022, we are delighted to invite you to the world premiere of Transcendence – a play which documents what happens when aged care residents, their family and staff experiment with VR. Part of a larger Facebook-funded project, developing a toolkit to encourage and support aged care staff to implement VR, Transcendence is three monologues, each exploring a key theme from the perspective of a primary stakeholder.

Our play will kick off WHAT I KNOW NOW THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD – a program focused on ageing, at QUT Gardens Point on Wed 25 May, 2-5pm. Click here for more information – and please share widely!

 https://www.thebiganxiety.org/events/the-big-reach/

Transcendence – by playwright and QUT PhD student Caleb Lewis

Frankie feels like a butterfly trapped in a box.  All her life she used to fly, then came the Parkinsons which grounded her for good.  But tonight, she’s headed for the stars.

Aleea misses her baba.  Sharif is still here, only his mind tends to wander, mostly back to life in Aleppo.  If only there was a way to meet him there.

Allegra is dying.  Young carer, Eddie, knows it, but what can he do? Yet when Eddie learns of Allegra’s greatest regret, perhaps he’ll be able to help realise one final wish before his friend goes.

PLAY 1: LIFE ON MARS

Frankie is exiled to aged care due to a failing body, though her mind is still sharp. In this story, Frankie attends the Ekka where she first sees the “Rocket Ride,” inspiring a lifelong love of flight. Stongly independent, she feels trapped in aged care, surrounded by people with whom has little in common. The use of the VR headset will allow her to fulfill a lifelong dream of space travel, and to experience for herself, life on Mars.

PLAY 2. ALEPPO

Aleea tells the story of her father, Sharif, a former merchant at the Aleppo souk in Syria. Like the souk itself, which now lies in ruins, Sharif’s memories are crumbling. Aleea, desperate to forge some connection between her daughter, Zahra, and Sharif, arranges for the three to visit the souk using VR, triggering a moment of recognition and reconnection.

PLAY 3. DOLPHIN SONG

A young carer, Eddie, tells of his experience in palliative care, helping the dying Allegra, a woman in aged care, realise her dream to swim with dolphins. When a storm threatens the planned swim and the boat refuses to take them out, all seems lost, then Eddie arranges for Allegra to visit a local pool and with VR goggles, immersing Allegra in the experience of a lifetime. Allegra’s swim is inspired by a company in Holland, the Dolphin Swim Club, who developed VR dolphin swims for pain management and palliative care.