Head and neck cancer patients can face debilitating treatment related side-effects, resulting in requirement for support and negatively impacting on care outcomes. This study aimed to develop a digital recovery support package and assess its acceptability with head and neck cancer patients to support their information needs and assist with their self-management. It provided additional support through development of a WebXR platform ‘recovery’ package, which allowed patients to live a ‘virtual reality’ experience, entering and moving inside a ‘virtual room’, accessing targeted resources and specific learning materials related to their cancer.
A qualitative intervention development study consisting of three phases. This study followed the COREQ checklist for qualitative research. Phase 1- Focus groups with seven head and neck cancer patients and six healthcare professionals. Phase 2- Development of ‘recovery’ package based on the focus group data which informed the content and design of the WebXR recovery platform. Phase 3- Technology acceptance study. Once developed, the platform's acceptability of the experience lived inside the virtual room was assessed via qualitative interviews with six different patient participants.
Most participants felt comfortable using the virtual reality platform, finding it a realistic and useful support for identifying resources and signposting to relevant materials. Participants agreed the WebXR platform was a feasible tool for the head and neck cancer setting and helped reduce anxiety.
Head and neck cancer patients welcome specific targeted, information and advice to support their ability to self-manage their rehabilitation and thus focus their nursing care. The platform was implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic, demonstrating its versatility and accessibility in providing complementary support to head and neck cancer patients, to empower them to adjust to their ‘new’ normal as part of their ongoing cancer journeys.