Patients’ and Health Professionals’ Experiences of Using Virtual Reality Technology for Upper Limb Training after Stroke: A Qualitative Substudy

Hanne Pallesen, Mette Brændstrup Andersen, Gunhild Mo Hansen, Camilla Biering Lundquist, Iris Brunner

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background. In recent years, virtual reality (VR) therapy systems for upper limb training after stroke have been increasingly used
in clinical practice.Therapy systems employing VR technology can enhance the intensity of training and can also boost patients’
motivation by adding a playful element to therapy. However, reports on user experiences are still scarce. Methods. A qualitative
investigation of patients’ and therapists’ perspectives on VR upper limb training. Semistructured face-to-face interviews were
conducted with six patients in the final week of the VR intervention.Therapists participated in two focus group interviews after the
completion of the intervention. The interviews were analyzed from a phenomenological perspective emphasizing the participants’
perceptions and interpretations. Results. Five key themes were identified fromthe patients’ perspectives: (i)motivational factors, (ii)
engagement, (iii) perceived improvements, (iv) individualization, and (v) device malfunction. The health professionals described
the same themes as the patients but less positively, emphasizing negative technical challenges. Conclusion. Patients and therapists
mainly valued the intensive and motivational character of VR training. The playful nature of the training appeared to have a
significant influence on the patients’ moods and engagement and seemed to promote a “gung-ho” spirit, so they felt that they
could perform more repetitions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4318678
JournalRehabilitation research and practice
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • health, nutrition and quality of life

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