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Pueblo Regional Center launches virtual reality staff training program

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DENVER (Feb. 28, 2023) — The Pueblo Regional Center (PRC) hosted a community event last Thursday to demonstrate new virtual reality technology that will be used for staff training. This pilot program, the first of its kind in Colorado state government, will help staff better serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) by simulating caregiving scenarios using virtual reality headsets which will show daily activities of people with IDD. These scenarios include caregiving topics such as customer service, safety and well-being and vision and hearing loss. 

“This is cutting-edge technology,” said Yolanda Webb, director of the Office of Adult, Aging and Disability Services, which oversees PRC. “I encourage any healthcare professional to look at job opportunities available through our website. Not only is this technology beneficial for the individuals we support, current and future staff will benefit from the real-life properties of the training. Now is the time to work at Pueblo Regional Center to benefit from the real-life experiences this immersive technology provides.”

Attendees at the virtual reality demonstration were able to try out the interactive technology, speak with experts from the developer, Embodied Labs, and read information on PRC and Embodied Labs. 

“It is incredibly empowering to be the first in Colorado with such impactful healthcare technology,” said Dr. Angela Green, director of the Division of Regional Centers. “I am excited to see how this new technology can allow us to best serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”        

The technology works by combining virtual reality goggles with computer-run labs designed to immerse wearers into specific situations they will encounter at PRC. Current lab experiences include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease, vision and hearing loss, end-of-life conversations, LGBT+ aging and trans health, home health assessments, physical and psychological health and relationship dynamics and communication strategies.  

Martha Ceja, a registered nurse and director of staff education and development for the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo, attended the demonstration and stated, “This technology allows staff members to see life from a customer’s perspective. Our foundations are to treat all people with respect and empathy and this provides staff with that training.”

PRC will be the first to use the technology for staff development of the three regional centers overseen by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), which include Grand Junction Regional Center and Wheat Ridge Regional Center. 

Careers at CDHS and at PRC can be found here.

PRC provides services on self-care, economics, independent living, socialization and leisure skills to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Southern Colorado. PRC consists of eight group homes able to accommodate 88 residents in the Pueblo West community. 

Media contact:
McKenna Corson, Communications Specialist