Residents across Cheshire and Merseyside, and the surrounding areas who are being treated for cancer will now be able to see what to expect ahead of their first appointment, thanks to a new virtual reality video produced by local students.
Patients at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool are now able to access a virtual tour of the Radiotherapy Department, produced by 80 Computer Science Digital (Level 3) students at The City of Liverpool College, so they are better informed and prepared for their first radiotherapy appointment.
Therapeutic Radiographers at Cheshire and Merseyside’s specialist cancer Trust, joined forces with the students in September 2019, who set out to improve patient experience by giving patients and their families insight in to what to expect when they attend their first appointment. The video was created for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool, the Trust’s flagship hospital which opened in 2020, and includes 3D visual representations of finding the radiotherapy department, signing in, how the changing facilities work and what to expect when entering the treatment room.
The concept for the video was developed when planning for the new hospital and was part of a wider project to enhance patient experience. It was established not only for the benefit of patients but also to deliver social value by offering hands-on work experience for young people.
Students involved said, “We are all so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful project, working with the hospital to help patients in the local community, all whilst gaining valuable industry work experience.”
The Radiotherapy team were conscious that patients often feel anxious about what to expect when coming for their first appointment and found that some patients have concerns about the unknown aspects of hospital visits, such as finding their way around and knowing what to expect from their first treatment appointment.
The virtual reality video aims to reduce the potential for anxiety and stress, by introducing patients to the hospital, the Radiotherapy Department and one of the Radiographers, Tom Cummings, virtually.
Nicky Hutton, Radiotherapy Advanced Practitioner, who led the project for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said, “I would like to thank everyone involved in this project. This virtual tour aims to provide patients with key information so that they can get that feeling of ‘I’m happier now that I know what is going on’ earlier in their treatment journey. The whole team are really excited about this virtual tour and the impact it will have on our patients.
“As a Trust, we are committed to continuously improve the service that we provide to our patients. We acknowledge how daunting it must be for our patients attending the hospital for the first time and hope that this video will answer some of the common questions they have when they first begin their radiotherapy treatment.
“Patients who have already seen the video have mentioned how it put them at ease and we hope it will go on to do the same for others.”
It is hoped the video will become part of a collection of resources that are developed for other departments at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Liverpool and Trust wide, such as chemotherapy, to improve patient experience in other departments. You can view the video via this link: https://www.clatterbridgecc.nhs.uk/patients/treatment-and-support/radiotherapy
Image: Therapeutic Radiographer, Thomas Cummings and his Avatar that the students created for the video