A task-specific interactive game-based virtual reality rehabilitation system for patients with stroke: a usability test and two clinical experiments
Virtual reality (VR) is not commonly used in clinical rehabilitation, and commercial VR gaming systems may have mixed effects in patients with stroke. Therefore, we developed RehabMaster TM, a task-specific interactive game-based VR system for post-stroke rehabilitation of the upper extremities, and assessed its usability and clinical efficacy.
A participatory design and usability tests were carried out for development of RehabMaster with representative user groups.
Two clinical trials were then performed. The first was an observational study in which seven patients with chronic stroke received 30 minutes of RehabMaster intervention per day for two weeks.
The second was a randomised controlled trial of 16 patients with acute or subacute stroke who received 10 sessions of conventional occupational therapy only (OT-only group) or conventional occupational therapy plus 20 minutes of RehabMaster intervention (RehabMaster + OT group). The Fugl-Meyer Assessment score (FMA), modified Barthel Index (MBI), adverse effects, and drop-out rate were recorded.
The requirements of a VR system for stroke rehabilitation were established and incorporated into RehabMaster.
The reported advantages from the usability tests were improved attention, the immersive flow experience, and individualised intervention. The first clinical trial showed that the RehabMaster intervention improved the FMA (P = .03) and MBI (P = .04) across evaluation times.
The second trial revealed that the addition of RehabMaster intervention tended to enhance the improvement in the FMA (P = .07) but did not affect the improvement in the MBI. One patient with chronic stroke left the trial, and no adverse effects were reported.
The RehabMaster is a feasible and safe VR system for enhancing upper extremity function in patients with stroke.
Published on: 2014-03-06