Archived News Item

IMERCYVE Virtual Reality Launch

L-R: Trent Dean (CEO, Mercy Connect), Caroline Cummins (Executive Leader, Clinical Services), Professor Irene Blackberry (Director, John Richards Centre), Matthew Clancy (Board Chair, Mercy Connect)



Mercy Connect recently celebrated National Careers Week, with the launch of a new partnership with La Trobe University’s John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research. The partnership seeks to undertake research and create innovative solutions to ensure better outcomes for people in the disability and aged care sector to live fulfilled lives in the community.


Mercy Connect Project Team, led by Trent Dean, Chief Executive Officer and Caroline Cummins, Executive Leader of Clinical Services, commissioned a Virtual Reality (VR) application to increase empathy and understanding by embodying the user in a first-person lived experience viewpoint. The VR, developed by Valley General Hospital, will be prepared for use with the Oculus Quest headset and aims to support staff who work directly with people with a range of disabilities, including intellectual disability and autism. This self-contained and wireless platform allows for wide-spread availability and interaction without the need for an external computer.


One in five Australians are living with disability, with many requiring specialised care and support to ensure their ongoing health and wellbeing. Raising empathy and awareness for those living with disability is an essential part of our health workforce training, and the development of this innovative VR application is another important step in achieving this outcome.


La Trobe researchers will evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of this innovative VR application to increase empathy among the healthcare workforce.


Together, we will seek to conduct innovative research to help us advocate for people in the disability and aged care sector so that they can live fulfilled lives.


The launch was hosted by Mercy Connect at St John’s Chapel in Thurgoona on Tuesday 13 October 2020 and was  well attended by Mercy Connect staff, John Richards Centre, Valley General Hospital and other key stakeholders, including the Institute Leadership Team both in-person and via Zoom.


You can view the recording here. 
(Password: FvY.q@D7 )

Read more about the project here.

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