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

Hicks, B., Konovalova, I., Myers, K., Falconer, L. and Board, M., 2021. Taking ‘A walk through dementia’: Exploring care home practitioners’ experiences of using a virtual reality tool to support dementia awareness. Ageing and Society. (In Press)

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Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/ageing-and...

DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X21000994

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.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0144-686X
Uncontrolled Keywords:Virtual Reality; Dementia-education; dementia-friendly communities; care home practitioners
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:35559
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:27 May 2021 14:59
Last Modified:15 Aug 2021 08:29

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