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The Evaluation of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Virtual Reality for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients

Jung, Timothy and Moorhouse, Natasha and Shi, Xin and Amin, Farhan (2020) The Evaluation of Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Virtual Reality for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients. Journal of Medical Internet Research. ISSN 1438-8871


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Background: Uptake of traditional pulmonary rehabilitation classes from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients is poor due to personal factors preventing accessibility to the venue. Therefore, there is a need for innovative methods of pulmonary rehabilitation and Virtual Reality (VR) could be the promising technology for COPD patients to access services remotely. Objectives: This study aims to investigate whether VR improves COPD patient’s compliance with pulmonary rehabilitation, particularly vulnerable patient group (MRC four or five), and whether VR provides a credible alternative to traditional pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. Methods: Eight-week patient trial using an innovative VR pulmonary rehabilitation programme. Purposive sample of ten COPD patients graded MRC four or five registered at a selected healthcare centre and a hospital in Cumbria, UK. Qualitative (focus groups and interviews) data were collected and to further support the qualitative findings, quantitative data (self-report patient surveys) were also gathered before and after the eight-week trial. The five self-report surveys included the Patient Activation Measure (PAM), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB), and the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS). Results: Using thematic analysis for the qualitative data, eleven themes emerged specific to delivering pulmonary rehabilitation using VR. The quantitative data further supports the qualitative findings by revealing significant improvements in all physical measures. Conclusion: Overall, this study demonstrates how remotely supervised VR-based pulmonary rehabilitation could help to overcome current issues and limitations associated with providing this service to COPD patients at scale

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