Objective: To identify the factors that influence the use of an at-home virtual rehabilitation gaming system from the perspective of therapists, engineers, and adults and adolescents with hemiparesis secondary to stroke, brain injury, and cerebral palsy.
Materials and Methods: This study reports on qualitative findings from a study, involving seven adults (two female; mean age: 65 ± 8 years) and three adolescents (one female; mean age: 15 ± 2 years) with hemiparesis, evaluating the feasibility and clinical effectiveness of a home-based custom-designed virtual rehabilitation system over 2 months. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data from therapists’ weekly telephone interview notes, research team documentation regarding issues raised during technical support interactions, and the transcript of a poststudy debriefing session involving research team members and collaborators.
Results: Qualitative themes that emerged suggested that system use was associated with three key factors as follows: (1) the technology itself (e.g., characteristics of the games and their clinical implications, system accessibility, and hardware and software design); (2) communication processes (e.g., preferences and effectiveness of methods used during the study); and (3) knowledge and training of participants and therapists on the technology’s use (e.g., familiarity with Facebook, time required to gain competence with the system, and need for clinical observations during remote therapy). Strategies to address these factors are proposed.
Conclusion: Lessons learned from this study can inform future clinical and implementation research using commercial videogames and social media platforms. The capacity to track compensatory movements, clinical considerations in game selection, the provision of kinematic and treatment progress reports to participants, and effective communication and training for therapists and participants may enhance research success, system usability, and adoption.