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A virtual reality psychological support program for patients and their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic

Project summary

The Dutch healthcare system has become unbalanced by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the acute increase in (complex) healthcare demand in hospitals with limited availability of healthcare professionals who need this healthcare.  – in short, an urgent shortage of hands to bed. Because there is not enough qualified healthcare staff, the supervision of patients and their loved ones during and after the intensive care process is also compromised.  This can ensure that an IC treatment can be a traumatic experience for patients and family.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic it is clear to prevent related trauma and the negative impact on the quality of life for patients and loved ones, patients and their loved ones need to be better prepared for the experiences in Intensive Care.  Attention should also be paid to the post-IC course of patients.  Because of the above problems, we have recently started an initiative to support Virtual Reality patients after an Intensive Care admission.  Virtual reality creates a fake reality in which a person can be easily and safely placed in a ‘different’ environment.  VR makes it possible to project images three-dimensionally in a realistic manner.  This makes various medical applications possible.  This way, patients can relive an IC experience safely with truthful images, in addition, family members of these patients can also be truthfully informed about which treatments their neighbor is undergoing in the ICU.

Do you want to know more about the VR? Click here for an article about the project.


We want to publish the results of this pilot study in an international professional journal and they provide sufficient basis to further develop and implement this way of providing information.

More detailed information

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Michel E van Genderen & Dr. Eva Klijn

Role Erasmus MC:



Intensive care

Project website:

Not available

Funding Agency:

Fonds SGS