Commercial gaming for fine motor recovery with survivors of chronic stroke: Participants' evaluations and recommendations


Background: The use of commercial gaming and virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation has increased substantially. However, very few studies have included the participants’ evaluations and recommendations for survivors of chronic stroke when using these rehabilitation techniques. Examining the experiences that participants have towards commercial gaming and virtual reality are important in determining the sustainability of these tools, and for the future development of techniques that participants will enjoy. Purpose: To examine the experiences of chronic stroke participants who interacted with an off-the-shelf commercial gaming device in a community-level rehabilitation setting. Methods: Individual, semi-structured interviews were completed with ten participants in the chronic phase of stroke recovery following their involvement with a commercial gaming intervention designed to improve hand function. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and reviewed line by line for rich descriptions. Emerging patterns and themes were identified using inductive content analysis.   Findings: All participants reported an increase in fine motor recovery with their more affected hand. Four primary themes and numerous subthemes emerged from the participants’ interviews. Participants described the ‘Virtual Reality Experience’ (ease of completion; and a novel rehabilitation). They explained the ‘Functional Outcomes’ (increase in confidence; and use of more affected hand) and offered their evaluations for this rehabilitation technique including the ‘Need for Staff’ (one-to-one ratio; guidance and feedback), and recommendations for the ‘Future of Virtual Reality in Stroke Rehabilitation’ (lack of care options; continuation of programming). Conclusion: Commercial gaming and virtual reality were described as an entertaining and novel way to complete rehabilitation for fine motor recovery. Participants’ evaluations of the program included their recommendations for the future of rehabilitation for survivors of chronic stroke in community level care.