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Clinical efficacy and patients' perception of virtual reality during wound care in adults: A systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials.

This study was aimed to review Virtual Reality's (VR) impact on pain, anxiety, opioid usage, physiological and behavioural responses, and patients' experience during wound care (WC) in adults. We searched multiple databases (Embase, Medline ALL, Web of Science Core Collection, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, Scopus and Google Scholar) from inception until January 27th, 2023. Included studies compared VR alone or as an adjunct to standard WC with standard WC or other distraction methods, in adults with burn or non-burn-related wounds. The risk of bias was assessed using the revised Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for randomised parallel-group and crossover trials. The review followed PRISMA guidelines for reporting. Fourteen studies were eligible for inclusion. The meta-analysis was limited to studies comprising solely of adult participants. VR reduced pain intensity compared to standard WC in all study designs. Despite not being included in the meta-analysis due to reasons such as mixed population or lack of sufficient statistical data, other studies showed significant pain reduction using VR. Additionally, VR improved patients' experience of WC. No clear effect was found on other outcomes including anxiety, opioid usage and physiological and behavioural responses. VR shows promise in reducing acute pain and enhancing patients' experience of WC. The observed variations in the effects of VR at group and individual levels indicate the need for a personalised treatment plan by selecting the right VR for the right patient given at the right time.

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