The aim of this article was to examine the scope of the peer-reviewed literature on the use of commercially available video gaming in rehabilitation. Five databases (SCOPUS, Cochrane, PsycINFO, PubMed and CINAHL) were searched for articles published between January 1990 and January 2014. The reference lists of selected articles were also reviewed to identify other relevant studies. Thirty articles met the inclusion criteria. Commercially available video gaming in rehabilitation was most commonly recommended by physiotherapists (50% or 15/30 studies) for populations at risk for falls or with decreased balance (67% or 19/30 studies). The most commonly used target outcomes were those assessing balance and/or fall prevention, with the Berg Balance Scale being the most frequently used (53% or 16/30 studies) outcome measure. The Nintendo Wii was the most prevalent gaming system (90% or 27/30 studies) used in the identified studies.
Video gaming in rehabilitation is widely used by clinicians. Preliminary findings show that video gaming technology can be applied across a wide variety of rehabilitation populations, with some evidence showing clinical gains in physical functioning (e.g. gait and balance). There is a need for more robust clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of using video game systems as an adjunct to conventional rehabilitation. Implications for Rehabilitation Video gaming is a readily available technology that has been suggested as an enjoyable and motivating activity that engages patients in rehabilitation programming. Video gaming is becoming an increasingly popular adjunct to traditional therapy. Video gaming is most commonly used by physical therapists in a hospital setting for those with balance impairments. Video gaming has been shown to improve functional outcomes.