Establishing the reliability and concurrent validity of physical performance tests using virtual reality equipment for community-dwelling healthy elders

The objective of this study was to determine the reliability and concurrent validity of frequently used physical performance tests using the OmniVR™ Virtual Rehabilitation System for healthy community-dwelling elders. Participants (N = 40) were recruited by the authors and were screened for eligibility. The initial method of measurement was randomized to either virtual reality (VR) or clinically based measures (CM). Physical performance tests included the five times sit to stand, Timed Up and Go (TUG), Forward Functional Reach (FFR) and 30-s stand test. A random number generator determined the testing order. The test-re-test reliability for the VR and CM was determined. Furthermore, concurrent validity was determined using a Pearson product moment correlation (Pearson r). The VR demonstrated excellent reliability for 5 × STS intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.931(3,1), FFR ICC = 0.846(3,1) and the TUG ICC = 0.944(3,1). The concurrent validity data for the VR and CM (ICC 3, k) were moderate for FFR ICC = 0.682, excellent 5 × STS ICC = 0.889 and excellent for the TUG ICC = 0.878. The concurrent validity of the 30-s stand test was good ICC = 0.735(3,1).

This study supports the use of VR equipment for measuring physical performance tests in the clinic for healthy community-dwelling elders. Implications for Rehabilitation Virtual reality equipment is not used exclusively to treat balance impairments but it is also used to measure and determine physical impairments through the use of physical performance tests. Virtual reality equipment is a dependable and valid tool for collecting physical performance data for the 5 × STS, FFR, TUG and 30-s stand test for healthy community-dwelling elders.