Survivors of chronic stroke – participant evaluations of commercial gaming for rehabilitation
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PURPOSE: There has been an increase in research on the effect that virtual reality (VR) can have on physical rehabilitation following stroke. However, research exploring participant perceptions of VR for post-stroke rehabilitation has been limited. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 chronic stroke participants (10 males, mean age = 72.1, mean time since injury = 38.6 mos.) who had recently completed an upper extremity VR stroke rehabilitation programme. RESULTS: Four main themes emerged: 'the VR experience,' 'functional outcomes,' 'instruction,' and the 'future of VR in stroke rehabilitation,' along with nine sub-themes. Participants illustrated the positive impact that VR training had on their functional abilities as well as their confidence towards completing activities of daily living (ADL). Participants also expressed the need for increased rehabilitation opportunities within the community. CONCLUSION: Overall, participants were optimistic about their experience with VR training and all reported that they had perceived functional gain. VR is an enjoyable rehabilitation tool that can increase a stroke survivor's confidence towards completing ADL. Implications for Rehabilitation Although there is an increase in rehabilitation programmes geared towards those with chronic stroke, we must also consider the participants' perception of those programmes. Incorporating participant feedback may increase enjoyment and adherence to the rehabilitation programmes. The VR experience, as well as provision of feedback and instruction, are important aspects to consider when developing a VR programme for stroke survivors. VR for rehabilitation may be a feasible tool for increasing the survivors' confidence in completing ADL post-stroke.
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