VIRTUAL reality technology is being trialled by Strathcarron Hospice to help reduce anxiety and pain for patients in palliative care.

The hospice, which cares for patients with a terminal illness from across the Forth Valley, has received £10,000 from Grangemouth Rotary Club for the project.

The virtual reality (VR) equipment includes a headset, a 360 degree camera and two computers on wheels to provide distraction therapy.

Immersing the patient – be it on a safari, deep sea diving or even visiting their own garden – the technology helps trick the brain into being present in another reality.

This can overwhelm the brain with information, leading to a reduction in anxiety and pain.

The 360 degree camera will allow the hospice to create personalised content for patients who might want to see their home, garden or favourite place, but are unable to do so physically.

Claire Kennedy, corporate fundraiser for Strathcarron Hospice, said: “The support we receive from the Rotary Club of Grangemouth is invaluable to allowing us to fund projects and renovations we might not otherwise have been able to invest in.

“This project has already allowed patients and families to create some really special memories at the very end of life.

“One lady wanted to see a Scottish island very special to her.

“Thank you to the Rotary funding this project, we were able to make this possible for the lady to achieve her goal of seeing this most special place in her heart again before she died."

VR equipment has been used extensively in hospice and palliative care and Strathcarron is currently trialling the technology with staff and patients with the aim of rolling it out as a patient service.

Allison Meikle, present at Grangemouth Rotary, added: “As a club, we are delighted that the monies raised have been able to have such a positive effect for the patients at Strathcarron Hospice.

“We were quite emotional when informed about the difference and delight the VR and computer on wheels have made so far.”