Category: Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development); Technology (e.g. robotics, assistive technology, mHealth); Cross-Cutting
To assess safety, feasibility, and utility of incorporating virtual reality experiences in community re-entry planning activities.
Pilot, open-label case series.
Setting : Tertiary, acute inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF).
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
Two consecutive patients ﴾amputee, cervical SCI﴿ participating in therapeutic recreation for community re-entry outings. Inclusion criteria were admission to IRF, no visual impairment, no seizures, no contraindication to using headset (craniectomy, scalp wounds, large glasses).
A library of virtual reality (VR) images was compiled to represent actual environments (accessible bus, outing locations) the participants would experience on their community re-entry outings. After viewing the immersive 3D environments, patients discussed with Recreation Therapists the outing plan as well as their perceptions of environmental barriers and assistive equipment needs.
Main Outcome Measure(s) :
Utility of VR was assessed based on participant survey responses (10‐items) collected during post-outing debrief. Items included subjective value of VR for recognizing new environmental challenges, preparing problem solving strategies, and promoting confidence for return to community activities. Safety and feasibility were assessed based on adverse events and acceptance of the intervention.
Participants reported that VR was a useful planning tool for visualizing re‐entry barriers and discussing management of those barriers. VR experiences helped patients recognize their mobility needs, anticipate limits of their physical and mental endurance, and develop confidence for returning to the community. Participants requested the library be expanded (e.g., to include images of bathrooms) and tolerated the intervention without adverse events.
VR is a low risk adjunct to traditional therapies, is feasible to incorporate in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, and provides a safe, low-stress way to prepare patients for physical challenges in the environment that may limit community participation after discharge.
Melanie Kline-Switzer– Recreational Therapist, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
Morgan Mersy– Recreational Therapist, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
Sheital Bavishi– Assistant Professor - Clinical, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio
Marcia Bockbrader– Assistant Professor, Research Physiatrist, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio