Image of male nurse pushing senior woman in a wheelchair in nursing facility

Relias has released “A Day in the Life of Henry: A Dementia Experience” to anyone free of charge, the company announced last week.

While the course is designed to be taken in a virtual reality environment, caregivers also can take it on a computer desktop version. Those interested in the VR version can buy a VR view via Google Cardboard.for under $10.

“The overwhelming feedback was it had direct emotional impact to the point of tears for some folks,” Relias Chief Marketing Officer Alex Osadzinski told McKnight’s. ”The goal is to see the world through the eyes of Henry. You are trying to get through the day with your desires being met. It shows you how folks aren’t being mean or evil. It really hits you right in the gut.”

In one example, Henry is trying to do a jigsaw puzzle, but someone places a tray in front of him and he loses his puzzle piece. Such everyday frustrations for those with dementia give caregivers a new perspective, Osadzinski says.

The course, designed by Jennifer Burks, RN, MSN, and Jennifer Moore, RN-BC, DNS-CT, CDP, offers CE credit for professional caregivers, but making it free makes it an option for those who want to better understand dementia.

That decision was “a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Osadzinski said, geared toward helping the profession and boosting empathy.

“It might help some people and it can begin to socialize the idea of immersive content,” he said.