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A New Form of Pain Management

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“How can we diminish pain in our patient population,” asked Sahily Escalar, an SPCU Supervisor with Lee Health.

Determined to answer that question, Lee Health nurses began searching for an innovative technique for pain management. “We take care of patients that go through open-heart surgery and valve procedures and some of these patients, unfortunately, are addicted to opioids,” she explained.

The opioid epidemic is a serious medical problem that affects millions of Americans, including many right here in Southwest Florida. “We have a lot of endocarditis patients that we want to try to help and help them with their recovery, and if we continue to give them opioids, we’re not helping,” said Emily Ambrose, a registered nurse with Lee Health.

Starting this month, 120 patients who undergo open-heart surgery will enroll in a trial using a new pain management tactic called virtual reality. “Patients across the nation are utilizing virtual reality to help take them away from this pain, and it truly helps to decrease their pain overall,” said Ambrose.

After surgery, 60 patients will get to use virtual reality for 15 minutes, three times a day. “It puts you in this world that kind of takes you away from whatever situation you’re in,” Ambrose said.

Before and after the sessions, nurses will monitor the patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and pain scale to see if the virtual reality is helping with their pain. A creative option for pain that can offer patients an alternative to opioids.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.

Visit LeeHealth.org

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