Virtual Reality Dementia Simulation: Developing Proof of Concept


Lisa Sokoloff, Manager – Training & Simulation,
Baycrest Health Sciences

A registered speech-language pathologist, Lisa is Manager, Training & Simulation at Baycrest’s Centre for Education and Knowledge Exchange in Aging. She received her undergraduate degree at Western and her Master of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lisa has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist with adult and geriatric clients since 1989. She has published and presented internationally in the areas of speech pathology, swallowing disorders and education. Lisa has Lecturer status in the Department of Speech Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and also teaches at Humber College in the OTA/PTA program.

Terry Myers
Digital Generals

Terry Myers is a Digital Producer with a degree in The History of Science and Technology from The University of King’s College which set him on a path at the forefront of technology and interactive media over the last decade. He has worked with top brands from around the world on media projects, commercials (McDonald’s, Coke, Irving) and video game titles such as FIFA, NBA LIVE, and NHL with Electronic Arts.  Terry has been involved in film, trans-media, software and television projects in a wide array of roles. Some titles include “Meet The Coywolf” with CBC’s The Nature of Things, the award winning documentary “Chinee Girl”, the primetime CBC series “Hello Goodbye” and numerous other projects screened around the world.  Terry has designed and manufactured several custom 360 camera arrays while working on VR projects and for research purposes. His research with multi directional audio, video-grammetry, transmorphic reality and VR narrative storytelling for the last 3 years provide the base for The Digital Generals team to continue pushing the boundaries of virtual reality technology.  Terry and the Digital Generals are currently working alongside Baycrest Health Sciences to explore the potential VR has to promote empathy in people caring for those with symptoms of dementia. Terry has the knowledge to help guide projects through the complicated and emerging technological landscape of virtual reality.

Session Description:

Working with or caring for persons with dementia can be very challenging due to behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). These behaviours, which include physical and verbal aggression, increase burden and directly affect quality of life for clients and caregivers.

Most education for healthcare providers focuses on increasing knowledge about dementia through traditional didactic methods. In contrast, VR simulation is a form of experiential learning that immerses learners in “real life” virtual environments that tap sensory dimensions.

In this session we will describe a collaboration between a Health Sciences Centre and a Virtual Reality Content and Technology Studio to develop a proof of concept for an immersive experiential learning experience. We will describe the steps taken to develop the VR simulations and our unique vision of filming the VR simulations from dual points of view – both that of the person with dementia and that of the caregiver. We will present some evaluation findings with respect to both the content and the software.

In this session you will learn:

  • To identify the benefits of using VR for healthcare educational simulation
  • To identify the challenges of using VR for healthcare educational simulation
  • How to find the intersection between educational methodology and new technology
  • How to collaborate and leverage the skills of each partner (healthcare and tech)

Audience Level:


Technologies Discussed:

Virtual reality with 360 degree video; hardware and software