Simulated end-of-life journey delivers emotional insights – Press Herald

Above is a rapid clip excerpted from the Clay Crowder video.

Pull the headset over your eyes and the arena around you fades. You are going to beget change into sixty six-365 days-old-fashioned Clay Crowder, and you might perhaps perhaps also very properly be loss of life.

Your doctor looks into your eyes and quietly explains that medical therapies aren’t working. The lung cancer has spread. You are going to beget four to six months left.

Later at home, you doze whereas paying consideration to your critical other and two daughters discuss your care with a hospice employee. As loss of life nears and peril intensifies, you peek what’s going on interior your body. Your lungs and rib cage start to heave rapid. Treatment eases your discomfort. Your breathing returns to a slack rattle.

Household gain around your bed. You hear them talking. Triggered by a hospice nurse, your critical other tells you that it’s all lawful to let scramble.

“It’s OK, honey,” she says. “You’ve got your ladies here.”

A unexcited from Embodied Labs’ virtual-actuality simulation of the loss of life of Clay Crowder, a fictional creation, shows the terminally in terrible health man’s two daughters, left, and his interactions with a hospice nurse. Courtesy of Embodied Labs

It’s advanced being Clay, a fresh interactive, virtual actuality video that lets the participant fight by one man’s pause-of-existence journey. Hospice of Southern Maine and the University of Original England are the usage of the computer simulation lab as a discovering out instrument for properly being care consultants, medical college students, hospice workers and patients’ kinfolk.

A field of tissues is continuously interior sight.

“It’s highly efficient,” said Susan Mason, medical companies and products manager for Hospice of Southern Maine. “I’ve been a hospice nurse for 5 years and I modified into once without a doubt deal bowled over at how worthy I hadn’t regarded as sooner than I went by the journey as Clay. You without a doubt the truth is feel worship you’re in it.”

David Carey, chaplain for Hospice of Southern Maine in Scarborough, interacts with a virtual-actuality video depicting the closing moments of a terminally in terrible health man’s existence. Customers inform the simulation by Embodied Labs is extremely efficient. Workers photograph by Ben McCanna

Clay Crowder, family man and protection power ancient, is the creation of Embodied Labs, a Los Angeles-based company that has produced several computer sim labs designed to set up folks in a patient’s body.

The University of Original England in Biddeford has been the usage of the corporate’s virtual actuality abilities for nearly two years, to serve medical college students better trace what it’s decide to journey properly being complications as general as hearing loss and as devastating as Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, Hospice of Southern Maine, based in Scarborough, is the usage of the Clay lab to present workers and kinfolk the next sense of what it’s decide to die. Even the most experienced hospice caregivers can procure themselves reaching for a tissue and discovering out one thing fresh.

Hospice CEO Daryl Cady said she believes the Clay lab has the vitality to alternate the method in which folks the truth is feel about loss of life and hospice care, in particular for younger generations who are conversant in virtual actuality abilities.

“It’s so critical that folk trace how hospice can serve on the pause of existence and not peril it,” Cady said. “In the occasion that they take dangle of proper Half-hour to set up on the VR goggles and stand within the shoes of any individual with a terminal illness, proper think of the alternate that would perhaps perhaps manufacture.”


Cady said the Clay lab moreover offers hospice workers and volunteers an opportunity to test the conversations that happen when a physician delivers a terminal prognosis and the family dynamics that generally strategy into play.

Jaye Van Dussen, personnel liaison for Hospice of Southern Maine, comforts David Carey after he watched a virtual-actuality video depicting the closing moments of a terminally in terrible health man’s existence. Workers photograph by Ben McCanna

Such training and outreach is anticipated to change into an increasing selection of critical as Maine’s inhabitants continues to age and quiz for hospice care grows.

Maine’s inhabitants is now solidly the oldest within the nation, with the absolute best median age of Forty four.7 years – which method the younger inhabitants is dwindling – and tied, with Florida and Montana, for the supreme percentage of residents age sixty 5 and older – 19 p.c of the hiss’s 1.3 million folks, in response to the U.S. Census.

Hospice of Southern Maine’s medical teams – nurses, social workers and others – seek advice from about 200 patients daily, up from about 130 patients daily proper three years within the past. Final 365 days, the company cared for a entire of 1,641 patients – both at home or at Gosnell Memorial Hospice Residence in Scarborough – a 2 p.c expand over the outdated 365 days, in response to the nonprofit’s annual record.

Maine’s consume of hospice companies and products has grown continuously within the final decade, Cady said. When Hospice of Southern Maine began running in 2004, about 9 p.c of Medicare-eligible Mainers old hospice companies and products, placing the hiss at forty ninth within the nation. By 2013, fifty seven p.c of eligible Mainers had been having access to hospice care and the hiss had moved to 25th within the nation, in response to Medicare files.

“The Clay lab will serve us educate the personnel in regards to the pause-of-existence journey,” Cady said.


All by the Clay lab, with the virtual actuality goggles over your eyes, you journey the transitions that patients and kinfolk must manufacture throughout the loss of life project.

When the doctor says you beget a pair of months to dwell, you flip to your left and peek the pained query to your critical other’s face. To your lawful, your feisty daughter presses the doctor to point to why surgical treatment just just isn’t an choice. Your family is adamant. They obtained’t imply you might perhaps perhaps also proper “move away.”

Later, you lastly pause up within the emergency room after a serious topple. A compassionate nurse explains a number of the most advantages of hospice care. Mostly it’s about doing what you’re ready to fabricate and retaining you gratified.

“It comes down to how you choose to pray to consume the time you beget left,” she says.

Embodied Labs modified into once began in 2016 by four younger abilities entrepreneurs. CEO Carrie Shaw, a medical illustrator and properly being educator, modified into once proper 19 years old-fashioned when she helped fancy her mother, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s.

That journey precipitated Shaw to shock if placing properly being care suppliers in their patients’ pores and skin would perhaps perhaps also manufacture them extra efficient. Her older sister, Erin Washington, designs the corporate’s curriculum.

First, the corporate produced a sim lab journey known as Alfred James, a seventy four-365 days-old-fashioned African-American man with beneficial macular degeneration and excessive-frequency hearing loss.

Next, they created Beatriz Rogers, a middle-used Hispanic girl who progresses by the early, middle and leisurely stages of Alzheimer’s. Clay Crowder is their newest.


All three sim labs are required viewing within the geriatrics training program at UNE’s College of Osteopathic Treatment, one amongst the few med faculties within the nation that require critical training in aging-linked properly being elements.

“Students are continuously amazed on the journey of becoming Alfred or Beatriz or Clay,” said Marilyn Gugliucci, director of UNE’s geriatrics program. “It’s continuously attention-grabbing to query how they acknowledge to Alfred’s frustration that his doctor is treating him as if he has cognitive impairment when he doesn’t. He proper can’t peek or hear properly.”

Embodied Labs, UNE and Hospice of Southern Maine beget developed mutually precious relationships, Gugliucci said.

The Clay lab modified into once created after a personnel from Embodied Labs spent 48 hours at Gosnell Residence, interviewing workers members and witnessing all that they manufacture, similar to the journey that several UNE med college students beget each and every 365 days.

Extra not too prolonged within the past, every other personnel from Embodied Labs spent 48 hours within the dementia unit on the Maine Veterans’ Dwelling in Scarborough, the set up UNE med college students scramble to learn what it’s decide to dwell in a nursing home, Gugliucci said.

The personnel’s journey will possible be woven into the following virtual lab, which is able to feature a Muslim girl who has Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the 2d most general place of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.


The Clay lab is presented in three segments: terminal prognosis, decision to inaugurate hospice care and loss of life.

“You peek what active loss of life looks worship, including what without a doubt occurs to the body,” Carrie Shaw said. “Our draw modified into once to fabricate one thing that’s not horrifying or grotesque, but it without a doubt is informational.”

The final segment takes hiss in Clay’s bed room.

All over again, you might perhaps perhaps also very properly be Clay.

Your eyes are nearly closed and your vision diminutive as kinfolk and caregivers strategy and scramble. You hear them discuss about your cool toes and your blue hands. Your daughter wonders whereas you might worship a feeding tube. The hospice nurse quells her issues about your declining want for meals.

Your loss of life is proven symbolically. An imaginary broad blue heron that has visited you sooner than, shooting your fading consideration to this world, appears to be like every other time and flies off from the foot of your bed.

You sight the comfort from above as your critical other and daughters take dangle of turns pronouncing goodbye.

The hospice nurse returns to bathe and costume you to your navy uniform. She speaks to you in a delicate, now acquainted hiss, as whereas you might perhaps perhaps also very properly be unexcited alive.

“Mr. Crowder, we’re going to take care of your body now, OK?” she asks.

Your journey as Clay Crowder ends as your casket, draped in an American flag, is wheeled out of the home.

Kelley Bouchard would perhaps perhaps also very properly be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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