MSPs try our virtual reality therapy in the Scottish Parliament

Following a successful pilot with residents at Sue Ryder Dee View Court, we are now rolling out the use of virtual reality as a form of mood-boosting therapy across all of our neurological care centres.

Joe FitzPatrick MSP exploring the virtual jungle pursued by gorillas
Minister for Public Health and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick MSP explores the jungle in one of our virtual reality headsets. © Colin Hattersley Photography

MSPs of all parties left the Scottish Parliament for sunnier climes yesterday – without actually leaving – as they gave virtual reality a try, courtesy of Sue Ryder. 

The system, which was specially developed for Sue Ryder Dee View Court users by tech company Immersicare, allows our residents to find themselves in places they may not be able to visit, such as the beach, jungle or outer space.

Its impact has been so positive that the system is now being rolled out across all of our Sue Ryder neurological care centres.

Technology that's changing lives

“This technology has clearly made a significant difference to the lives of many of the residents at Dee View Court in Aberdeen," said Lewis Macdonald MSP, who represents the North East of Scotland, which includes Sue Ryder Dee View Court, and who hosted the event in the Scottish Parliament.

"It is great to hear that the chance to enjoy these virtual reality experiences is now being expanded to other Sue Ryder care centres. 
 
“I was delighted to welcome Sue Ryder to the Scottish Parliament, and I am sure that all the MSPs who tried the technology for themselves found it as enjoyable as the Dee View Court residents,” Lewis Macdonald added.

Lewis Macdonald asks Kirsty Fraser some questions about virtual reality.
Lewis Macdonald MSP asks therapist Kirsty Fraser some questions about virtual reality.
Lewis Macdonald MSP tries our virtual reality experience
Lewis Macdonald MSP tries our virtual reality experience.
Richard Leonard MSP explores under the sea
Richard Leonard MSP, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, explores under the sea.
Sue Ryder Recreational Therapist Kirsty Fraser equips Joe FitzPatrick MSP's virtual reality headset
Sue Ryder Recreational Therapist Kirsty Fraser equips Joe FitzPatrick MSP's virtual reality headset.
Therapist Kirsty Fraser talks Alasdair Allan MSP through navigating the virtual jungle.
Sue Ryder therapist Kirsty Fraser talks Alasdair Allan MSP through navigating the virtual jungle.
Joe FitzPatrick MSP meets virtual elephants
Joe FitzPatrick MSP meets virtual elephants.
Joe FitzPatrick MSP swims under the sea
The virtual reality experience was so real, Joe FitzPatrick MSP felt like he could swim under the sea.
Joe FitzPatrick MSP points out virtual sharks
Joe FitzPatrick MSP points out virtual sharks.
Peter Chapman MSP was last to test-drive virtual reality.
Conservative Peter Chapman MSP was last to test-drive virtual reality.
Peter Chapman MSP in virtual space
Peter Chapman MSP in (virtual) space.
Peter Chapman MSP stars in his own version of 'Finding Nemo'.
Peter Chapman MSP stars in his own version of 'Finding Nemo'.
The virtual reality therapy is so immersive that it has been proven to lower blood pressure.
The virtual reality therapy is so immersive that it has been proven to lower blood pressure.
Peter Chapman MSP oohs and ahs at VR
Virtual reality therapy also has mood-boosting and pain-relieving effects for our residents.
Tom Mason MSP gets to grips with VR
Tom Mason MSP gets to grips with VR.
Peter Chapman MSP feels toasty next to a VR fire.
Peter Chapman MSP feels toasty next to a VR fire.
Rhoda Grant MSP in virtual snow.
Rhoda Grant MSP in virtual snow.
Director of Neurological Care and Scotland Pamela Mackenzie introduces VR to the MSPs
Director of Neurological Care and Scotland Pamela Mackenzie introduces VR to the MSPs.
Maureen Watt MSP in her headset.
Maureen Watt MSP in her VR headset.
George Adam MSP explores the jungle.
George Adam MSP explores the jungle.
Daniel Johnson MSP in space.
Daniel Johnson MSP in space.
Colin Smyth MSP examines the headset.
Colin Smyth MSP examines the headset.
Clare Adamson MSP is amazed by virtual reality.
Clare Adamson MSP is amazed by virtual reality.
Anabelle Ewing MSP
Anabelle Ewing MSP.
Anas Sarwar MSP loves being underwater.
Anas Sarwar MSP loves being underwater.

Lowering blood pressure and boosting mood

“Early evidence from the team at Sue Ryder Dee View Court shows that use of virtual reality by people with neurological conditions is helping to lower blood pressure and pain levels, as well as boosting mood and wellbeing," explained our Director of Neurological Care and Scotland Pamela Mackenzie.

“As we eagerly await the Scottish Government’s National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions, it seems like a good time to share with others the innovative technology we are using with our service users to improve their quality of life," she added.

Innovative health and social care

“The use of virtual reality technology to help people with neurological conditions is a great example of innovation in health and social care," agreed Public Health and Wellbeing Minister Joe FitzPatrick. "I commend Sue Ryder for this and the wider work they do in supporting people living with these conditions."

Joe FitzPatrick returns to reality by removing his VR headset
Joe FitzPatrick MSP returns to reality.

Coming soon: Scottish National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions

“The Scottish Government wants to ensure that people living with neurological conditions have access to the best possible care and support across the country," Joe FitzPatrick continued. 

"We have worked in partnership with the neurological community to develop Scotland’s first ever National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions.

"We will publish the draft plan in the coming weeks for public consultation and I would encourage everyone to provide their views,” he urged.

Learn more about Dee View Court

We provide specialist neurological care, rehabilitation and support tailored to the individual needs of people with a range of neurological conditions in Scotland.