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Patients' use of a home-based virtual reality system to provide rehabilitation of the upper limb following stroke

Standen, Penny; Threapleton, Kate; Connell, Louise Anne; Richardson, Andy; Brown, David J.; Battersby, Steven; Sutton, Catherine Jane; Platts, F.


Penny Standen

Kate Threapleton

Louise Anne Connell

Andy Richardson

David J. Brown

Steven Battersby

Catherine Jane Sutton

F. Platts



Effectiveness depends on adherence, so did patients use the intervention to the recommended level? If not, what reasons did they give? The purpose of this study was to investigate these and related questions.


A prospective cohort study, plus qualitative analysis of interviews, was conducted.


Seventeen patients recovering from stroke recruited to the intervention arm of a feasibility trial had the equipment left in their homes for 8 weeks and were advised to use it 3 times a day for periods of no more than 20 minutes. Frequency and duration of use were automatically recorded. At the end of the intervention, participants were interviewed to determine barriers to using it in the recommended way.


Duration of use and how many days they used the equipment are presented for the 13 participants who successfully started the intervention. These figures were highly variable and could fall far short of our recommendations. There was a weak positive correlation between duration and baseline reported activities of daily living. Participants reported lack of familiarity with technology and competing commitments as barriers to use, although they appreciated the flexibility of the intervention and found it motivating.


The small sample size limits the conclusions that can be drawn.


Level of use is variable and can fall far short of recommendations. Competing commitments were a barrier to use of the equipment, but participants reported that the intervention was flexible and motivating. It will not suit everyone, but some participants recorded high levels of use. Implications for practice are discussed.


Standen, P., Threapleton, K., Connell, L. A., Richardson, A., Brown, D. J., Battersby, S., …Platts, F. (2015). Patients' use of a home-based virtual reality system to provide rehabilitation of the upper limb following stroke. Physical Therapy, 95(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 28, 2014
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2017
Journal Physical Therapy
Print ISSN 0031-9023
Electronic ISSN 1538-6724
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 95
Issue 3
Keywords Stroke (Geriatrics), Self-Care and home management, Therapeutic exercise work and community reintegration Injuries and conditions, Upper extremity motor control and motor learning stroke (Neurology)
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