Immersive Virtual Reality in Children with Upper Limb Injuries: Findings from a Feasibility Study

PHELAN, Ivan, FURNESS, Penny, DUNN, Heather, CARRION-PLAZA, Alicia, MATSANGIDOU, Maria, DIMITRI, Paul and LINDLEY, Shirley (2021). Immersive Virtual Reality in Children with Upper Limb Injuries: Findings from a Feasibility Study. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine.

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PURPOSE:Children who sustain Upper Limb Injuries (ULIs), including fractures and burns, may undergo intensive rehabilitation. The discomfort of therapy can reduce their compliance, limit their range of motion (ROM) and lead to chronic pain. Virtual Reality (VR) interventions have been found to reduce anticipated and procedural pain. This feasibility study aimed to explore perceptions and impacts of a custom-made, fully immersive Head-Mounted Display VR (HMD-VR) experience within a United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service (NHS) outpatient rehabilitation service for children with ULIs. METHODS:Ten children aged 9–16 in one UK Children’s hospital trialled HMD-VR during one rehabilitation session. They, their parents (n = 10), and hospital physiotherapy staff (n = 2) were interviewed about their perceptions of pain, difficulty, enjoyability, therapeutic impacts, benefits, and limitations. Children rated the sessions on enjoyability, difficulty, and pain compared to usual rehabilitation exercises. Physiotherapists were asked to provide range of motion readings. RESULTS: Inductive thematic analysis of interview data generated three themes, ‘Escape through Engagement’; ‘Enhanced Movement’; and ‘Adaptability and Practicality’. Children rated the session as more enjoyable, less difficult and painful than their usual rehabilitation exercises. Findings suggested that HMD-VR was an engaging, enjoyable experience that distracted children from the pain and boredom of therapy. Also, it seemed to enhance the movement they achieved. Participants perceived it was useful for rehabilitation and adaptable to individual needs and other patient groups. Suggestions were made to increase adaptability and build in practical safeguards. CONCLUSION: Findings from this small-scale feasibility study suggested HMD-VR was perceived as usable, acceptable, and effective with potential for further development. Future work could include larger scale trials.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2021 12:32
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2021 16:30

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