Taking 'A walk through dementia': Exploring care home practitioners' experiences of using a virtual reality tool to support dementia awareness

Authors: Hicks, B., Konovalova, I., Myers, K., Falconer, L. and Board, M.

Journal: Ageing and Society

eISSN: 1469-1779

ISSN: 0144-686X

DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X21000994

Abstract:

Emerging research has outlined the possibility for virtual reality (VR) experiences, which situate users into the perspective of someone living with dementia, to enhance dementia awareness. Currently, there is limited VR research that engages care home practitioners. It is imperative this population has high levels of dementia education given their requirements to provide care and support to residents, many of whom will be living with the condition. This paper reports on an exploratory qualitative study designed to elicit the experiences of care home practitioners who engaged with the VR application: 'A walk through dementia'. Twenty practitioners, across four care homes in the United Kingdom, watched the VR scenarios and provided their views on the experience and the potential for the VR tool to be developed into a wider training programme to support dementia awareness. Data were collected via focus group discussions. Following an inductive thematic analysis, we constructed three themes. These suggested participants perceived the VR application offered them a convincing and immersive experience that was insightful and evocative, and provided 'next-level' dementia-awareness training that enabled them to reflect on care practices. Although the findings highlight important challenges for practitioners and developers wishing to use VR within dementia care, they suggest this application may be an engaging experiential learning tool that can provide care home staff with deeper cognitive and emotional awareness of living with dementia. Further work, drawing on these preliminary insights, is required to ensure the VR tool can be incorporated into a training programme that can positively contribute to the 'dementia-friendly communities' agenda.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35559/

Source: Scopus

Taking ‘A walk through dementia’: Exploring care home practitioners’ experiences of using a virtual reality tool to support dementia awareness

Authors: Hicks, B., Konovalova, I., Myers, K., Falconer, L. and Board, M.

Journal: Ageing and Society

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISSN: 0144-686X

Abstract:

Background and objectives: Emerging research has outlined the possibility for Virtual Reality (VR) experiences, which situate the user into the perspective of someone living with dementia, to enhance dementia-awareness education in student health professionals and informal caregivers. Currently, there is limited VR research that engages care home practitioners. It is imperative this population has high levels of dementia education given their requirements to provide care and support to residents, many of whom will be living with the condition.

Research design and methods: An exploratory qualitative study using focus groups to elicit the experiences of 20 care home practitioners who engaged with the portable and commercially available VR application: ‘A walk through dementia.’ Results: Following a thematic analysis, we constructed three themes from the data. These suggested the participants perceived the VR application offered them a convincing and immersive experience that was insightful and evocative, and provided ‘next-level’ dementia-awareness training. Discussion and implications: The findings provide evidence for the possibilities of using a commercially available VR application as an experiential learning tool in care homes to provide practitioners with deeper cognitive and emotional understanding into how it might feel to live with dementia, and how these lived experiences can be influenced by the actions of others. However, they also highlight challenges for practitioners and VR developers that need to be addressed if the potential of the VR tool is to be fully realised and successfully incorporated into a training programme that can positively contribute to the ‘dementia-friendly communities’ policy agenda.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35559/

Source: Manual

Taking ‘A walk through dementia’: exploring care home practitioners’ experiences of using a virtual reality tool to support dementia awareness

Authors: Hicks, B., Konovalova, I., Myers, K., Falconer, L. and Board, M.

Journal: Ageing and Society

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISSN: 0144-686X

DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X21000994

Abstract:

Emerging research has outlined the possibility for virtual reality (VR) experiences, which situate users into the perspective of someone living with dementia, to enhance dementia awareness. Currently, there is limited VR research that engages care home practitioners. It is imperative this population has high levels of dementia education given their requirements to provide care and support to residents, many of whom will be living with the condition. This paper reports on an exploratory qualitative study designed to elicit the experiences of care home practitioners who engaged with the VR application: ‘A walk through dementia’. Twenty practitioners, across four care homes in the United Kingdom, watched the VR scenarios and provided their views on the experience and the potential for the VR tool to be developed into a wider training programme to support dementia awareness. Data were collected via focus group discussions. Following an inductive thematic analysis, we constructed three themes. These suggested participants perceived the VR application offered them a convincing and immersive experience that was insightful and evocative, and provided ‘next-level’ dementia-awareness training that enabled them to reflect on care practices. Although the findings highlight important challenges for practitioners and developers wishing to use VR within dementia care, they suggest this application may be an engaging experiential learning tool that can provide care home staff with deeper cognitive and emotional awareness of living with dementia. Further work, drawing on these preliminary insights, is required to ensure the VR tool can be incorporated into a training programme that can positively contribute to the ‘dementia-friendly communities’ agenda.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35559/

Source: Manual