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Improving healthcare with SyncVR

By Dr Sara da Silva Ramos, Senior Research Fellow at Brainkind

Improving healthcare with SyncVR

Virtual reality (VR) is the term used to describe three-dimensional, computergenerated environments, with which people can interact (1).  

The application of VR into rehabilitation emerged in the late 90s (2) and the volume of scientific studies evaluating the validity of VR in cognitive assessments, and its value as a tool in neurorehabilitation has been growing ever since (3). 

At Brainkind we have been keeping a close eye on these developments and contributing with some of our own collaborative work on the topic. (4) In line with the needs of the people we support, and our approach to neurorehabilitation, we are especially interested in environments that support the assessment of cognition and provide a ground for practicing functional skills, like getting dressed, safely crossing the road or shopping. 

More recently, we came across SyncVR, a social enterprise whose primary mission is to improve health care with virtual reality. We arranged a free demo, where we learned about the broad range of environments and tools they offer, as well as some of the research behind it. We then planned a trial period in two of our services and implemented our plans by using the headsets for about six weeks.  

The focus of the trial period at Redford Court, our neurological centre in Liverpool, was to understand whether apps like SyncVR Relax and Distract, and HypnoVR, could help people manage anger and anxiety.

At Kerwin Court, our neurological centre in Horsham, we wanted to see if VR could support people to increase repetitions of physiotherapy exercises, the extent to which the people we support, and staff, experience VR as adding value to rehabilitation plans, and we also explored the frequency of cyber sickness, and the strategies used to prevent or manage it. 

Time flew by as we gradually increased use within our day-to-day practice. A number of the people we support had the opportunity to use it. Some people liked it very much, others less so, which is definitely not an original finding! However, staff did report that exposure to virtual environments helped with engagement in sessions for most people and found that VR headsets could be a good addition to being in neurorehabilitation.

The relaxation tools were especially useful in this regard. We are confident that having VR headsets with a good choice of environments available will be of benefit to many and are hoping to be able to implement this technology across Brainkind, not only to improve the experience that the people we support have while in our services, but also to use research to further our quest towards understanding exactly who benefits most from which VR environments.  

Please make a donation to help us make VR available to more of the people we support. 

To find out more about SyncVR, visit their website: You can also email if you have any questions for us.  


  1. Virtual Reality Society (2017). What is virtual reality? Available Accessed 7 November 2023  
  2. Rose, F. D., Attree, E. A., & Johnson, D. A. (1996). Virtual reality: an assistive technology in neurological rehabilitation. Current Opinion in Neurology, 9(6), 461–7.  
  3. Sperr, E. (n. d.) PubMed by Year. Available, Accessed 17 April 2024 
  4. Lyons, Z., Barak, O., Caleb-Solly, P., Harris, N., O’Neill, B., Ramos, S. D. S., & Watts, L. (2015). Establishing design requirements for a virtual therapy aid for executive dysfunction. Paper presented at The 2015 International Conference on Brain Informatics and Health, London, UK United Kingdom. 
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