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Management of pain in palliative care patients remains to be a highly complex and individualized process that involves a combination of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions (Garrett et al., 2020). However, despite current standards for care, pain remains to be poorly controlled compared to all other symptoms (Guenther et al., 2022; Natoli et al., 2015). Due to the prevalence and severity of pain among palliative care patients, many non-pharmacological interventions have been explored to improve quality of life. Recent studies have shown virtual reality (VR) to be successful in the management of acute pain (Chan et al., 2018). However, the effectiveness of virtual reality to manage pain among palliative care patients remains unclear. The purpose of this systematic review of research was to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual reality alone compared to the effectiveness of virtual reality with standard of care (SOC) at controlling pain among palliative care patients. Methodology for this study included a comprehensive search of multiple databases using keywords to identify articles that met inclusion criteria. Thirteen articles published between 2018-2022 were eligible for inclusion. Out of 13 articles included, 3 articles compared VR alone to VR plus SOC and 9 articles evaluated the use of VR for pain management among palliative care patients. One article compared VR to guided imagery (Groninger et al., 2021). The results of the 3 articles revealed that compared to VR alone, VR plus SOC was more effective at reducing pain and anxiety among palliative care patients (Ahmad et al., 2020; Bani and Ahmad, 2018; Mallari et al., 2019). In addition, the results of the 9 articles found VR to be an effective intervention for reducing pain (Austin et al., 2022; Garrett et al., 2020; Grassini, 2022; Guenther et al., 2022; Kelleher et al., 2022; Martin et al., 2022; Moscato et al.,.2021; Niki et al., 2019; Seiler et al., 2022). The results of the last article revealed that VR was more effective at reducing pain than guided imagery 4 (Groninger et al., 2021). According to the results of this study, nurses may consider virtual reality as an adjunctive intervention for pain and anxiety management among palliative care patients. However, despite these results, more high-methodological studies are recommended to confirm these findings.

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