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This qualitative research explored the impact of immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences on student pharmacist knowledge, attitudes, and anticipated behaviors, when used as a supplement to traditional didactic education. Participants completed one or more simulated VR experiences role-playing a person with Alzheimer's Disease, which included experiencing realistic visual and auditory disturbances, struggling with language comprehension, and displaying symptoms of aphasia. Post experience, students completed several short essay prompts. Overall, the study assessed student's self-perceived empathy and anticipated changes to provision of patient care as a result of this activity. Major categories of themes that emerged included 1.) the dementia experience (communication and isolation, feeling like a burden, scared and helpless, confused, altered perception), 2.) importance of patient centered care (patient centered care, pharmacist perception, importance of caregiver care and inclusion, empathy), and 3.) resultant changes in practice (approach slowly and calmly, regimen simplicity and total medication care, monitor signs and symptoms, trust and rapport).
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