This immersive experience places the User inside an aged care facility as they care for an elderly resident.
Working with Western District Health Service (WDHS) and South West TAFE, Start Beyond developed an experiential micro-credentials skills solution for aged care workers & TAFE students; which focused on caring for elderly people with dementia.
WDHS identified the need for current staff as well as students seeking to enter the industry to have better soft skills, particularly around communication across different job roles and with the residents and patients receiving the care.
A program was designed to provide a better understanding of how to manage dementia patients for TAFE students seeking to enter the Aged Care industry and be used as a tool to up-skill staff at WDHS, via a powerful and relatable learning experience centred around soft skills, empathy and communication.
A suite of authentic interactive VR scenarios were produced; combining WDHS’ in-house experience with dementia patients, SWTAFE’s knowledge of building skills-centric course curriculums and Start Beyond’s expertise in shooting and producing live-action 360° reality experiences.
Shot in first person, the camera represented the User’s perspective. By having the dementia resident talk directly to the camera it created the sensation of the resident talking directly to the User; thereby placing the User inside the situation.
This immersive VR technique was coupled with an interactive branching narrative that allowed the User at specific moments within the scene to choose how they would like to respond to the resident’s behaviour. The subsequent neutral, escalating or de-escalation reaction of the resident, provided the User with a first-hand experience of effective versus poor communication skills.
The benefits of the program were extensive. It overcame the challenges associated with deploying “on the floor” training by providing a timely, cost effective and safe space for individuals to improve their soft skills without the emotional impact of real life and provided a stepping stone to improved long term skill development.
Its deployment across all departments of WDHS brought disparate groups together, thereby significantly improving staff morale, and interdepartmental collaboration. It also increased staff engagement and career motivation with increased participants enrolling in the WDHS Workplace Careers Program.
Following on from the success of this program further micro-credentials are being developed, and the Start Beyond, WDHS & SWTAFE were a nominated finalist the 2021 innovAGEING Awards in the category Increasing Care and Service Productivity.