Therapists’ Perspective on Virtual Reality Training in Patients after Stroke

During the past decade, virtual reality (VR) has become a new component in the treatment of patients after stroke. Therefore aims of the study were (a) to get an insight into experiences and expectations of physiotherapists and occupational therapists in using a VR training system and (b) to investigate relevant facilitators, barriers, and risks for implementing VR training in clinical practice.

Three focus groups were conducted with occupational therapists and physiotherapists, specialised in rehabilitation of patients after stroke. All data were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The study was analysed based on a phenomenological approach using qualitative content analysis. After code refinements, a total number of 1289 codes emerged out of 1626 statements. Intercoder reliability increased from 53% to 91% until the last focus group. The final coding scheme included categories on a four-level hierarchy: first-level categories are (a) therapists and VR, (b) VR device, (c) patients and VR, and (d) future prospects and potential of VR developments.

Results indicate that interprofessional collaboration is needed to develop future VR technology and to devise VR implementation strategies in clinical practice. In principal, VR technology devices were seen as supportive for a general health service model.

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