FrailtySIM – Virtual Reality (VR) based training

“VR was best idea I’ve experienced to aid stepping into someone’s world to help to understand their needs.”

FrailtySIM is a Virtual Reality workforce development tool that improves healthcare for older people living with frailty.

Through a set of immersive experiences it:

  • Increases awareness of frailty;
  • Develops understanding and empathy;
  • Enhances observational skills;
  • Deploys assistive technology.

Based on a gentleman called Victor, it provides the user with the opportunity to “walk” in the shoes of an older person living with frailty, and enables the user to experience the vulnerability of differing levels of functional losses associated with frailty and ageing.

The impairments include mobility, vision, hearing and cognition.

The use of VR and ability to interact with the environment, activates a wider range of senses and emotions than traditional educational experiences and it helps users to understand the support and care that the older person living with frailty needs to be able to do the things that are important to them in remaining active and independent.

Deployed for individual or group learning, at a time or place to suit learners’ needs, this innovative application utilises ‘platform agnostic’ software and modern VR hardware, making it flexible and scalable.  It is now available App Store and Google Play.

The initial prototype was developed as part of the Nottinghamshire Frailty & Supported Self-Care programme, with subsequent development being supported by a grant from Ufi charitable trust http://www.ufi.co.uk/projects/voctech-seed-projects-2016#FrailtySIM.  It has been designed and tested through a multi-agency and multi-professional approach with over 2,000 users to date.

FrailtySIM has been rated as “excellent” for building understanding and empathy for older people living with frailty by the majority of the 1,200+ users who have been through the experience, with 97% rating it as “good” (30%) or “excellent” (67%).  FrailtySIM has also been consistently rated “the best thing” about the training events where it has been used.

It has been shown to deliver engaging and memorable learning experiences with demonstrable impact on outcomes, through increasing awareness and changing perspectives and behaviours related to frailty care.

What do participants say?

“The training gave me an insight into the difficulties older frail people face. It has enabled me to be more sympathetic and have greater understanding.”  District Nurse with 10 – 20 years experience

“I can now put myself in the shoes of someone potentially living with frailty and understand what signs to look out for to help someone and make them safer.”  Care Co-ordinator with 2 – 5 years experience

“I think the most valuable part of the training was wearing the head kit and in effect “walking in the shoes of someone with frailty and disabilities”. I have taken this learning forward into my job and now consciously look for clues in the home.”  Community Support Worker with 5 – 10 years experience

Walking through Frailty

In addition to “Become Victor” and “Being Jane” (Victor’s carer), FrailtySIM also now includes “Walking through frailty”.  

This module allows you to select 4 different levels of frailty (from “fit” to “severe”) and to explore the differences between the levels, its impact on how easy it is to carry out everyday tasks and how it makes you feel. You can compare the time it takes, as well as how successful you are at completing the different tasks. This information is available in the debrief for each level of frailty, which also includes helpful summaries of the type of support that may be helpful to improve the quality of life of someone living with that level of frailty. It can be used to raise awareness of different levels of frailty and support Prevention and Risk reduction training.

How to access FrailtySIM

There are a number of ways you can access FrailtySIM as an individual or for your organisation.

  1. Follow the four steps to deploy FrailtySIM
  2. Via a Frailty Champion / Local Trainer programme
  3. As part of an innovative and interactive training session or workshop.  You can register an interest in such an event.

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Find out more

You can find out more about FrailtySIM in the video below or scroll down to access the Evaluation Report of the first 1,000 users.

Evaluation Report: Feedback from the first 1,000 FrailtySIM users

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