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J Med Internet Res ; 23(9): e29210, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484953


BACKGROUND: Apathy is a frequent and underrecognized neurological disorder symptom. Reduced goal-directed behavior caused by apathy is associated with poor outcomes for older adults in residential aged care. Recommended nonpharmacological treatments include person-centered therapy using information and communication technology. Virtual reality (VR) in the form of head-mounted displays (HMDs) is a fully immersive technology that provides access to a wide range of freely available content. The use of VR as a therapy tool has demonstrated promise in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety. In addition, VR has been used to improve conditions including depression, anxiety, cognitive function, and balance in older adults with memory deficits, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson disease. Research using VR for the symptoms of apathy in older adults living in residential aged care facilities is limited. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to examine whether using HMDs as a tool for reminiscence therapy improves the symptoms of apathy compared with using a laptop computer and physical items with older adults living in residential aged care. METHODS: In this multisite trial, 43 participants were allocated to one of three groups: reminiscence therapy intervention using VR in the form of HMDs, reminiscence therapy using a laptop computer supplemented by physical items if required (active control), and a usual care (passive control) group. The primary outcome was apathy, and the secondary outcomes included cognition and depression. The side effects of using HMDs were also measured in the VR group. RESULTS: Mixed model analyses revealed no significant group interaction over time in outcomes between the VR and laptop groups (estimate=-2.24, SE 1.89; t40=-1.18; P=.24). Pooled apathy scores in the two intervention groups compared with the passive control group also revealed no significant group interaction over time (estimate=-0.26, SE 1.66; t40=-0.16; P=.88). There were no significant secondary outcomes. Most participants in the VR group stated that they would prefer to watch content in VR than on a flat screen (Χ22=11.2; P=.004), side effects from HMD use were negligible to minimal according to the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire cutoff scores. CONCLUSIONS: Although there were no significant results in outcome measures, this study found that participants engaged in the research and enjoyed the process of reminiscing using both forms of technology. It was found that VR can be implemented in an aged care setting with correct protocols in place. Providing residents in aged care with a choice of technology may assist in increasing participation in activities. We cannot dismiss the importance of immediate effects while the therapy was in progress, and this is an avenue for future research. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12619001510134; INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046030.

Apathy , Parkinson Disease , Virtual Reality , Aged , Australia , Cognition , Humans
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 967, 2021 Sep 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477291


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 poses a considerable threat to those living in residential aged care facilities (RACF). RACF COVID-19 outbreaks have been characterised by the rapid spread of infection and high rates of severe disease and associated mortality. Despite a growing body of evidence supporting airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, current infection control measures in RACF including hand hygiene, social distancing, and sterilisation of surfaces, focus on contact and droplet transmission. Germicidal ultraviolet (GUV) light has been used widely to prevent airborne pathogen transmission. Our aim is to investigate the efficacy of GUV technology in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in RACF. METHODS: A multicentre, two-arm double-crossover, randomised controlled trial will be conducted to determine the efficacy of GUV devices to reduce respiratory viral transmission in RACF, as an adjunct to existing infection control measures. The study will be conducted in partnership with three aged care providers in metropolitan and regional South Australia. RACF will be separated into paired within-site zones, then randomised to intervention order (GUV or control). The initial 6-week period will be followed by a 2-week washout before crossover to the second 6-week period. After accounting for estimated within-zone and within-facility correlations of infection, and baseline infection rates (10 per 100 person-days), a sample size of n = 8 zones (n = 40 residents/zone) will provide 89% power to detect a 50% reduction in symptomatic infection rate. The primary outcome will be the incidence rate ratio of combined symptomatic respiratory infections for intervention versus control. Secondary outcomes include incidence rates of hospitalisation for complications associated with respiratory infection; respiratory virus detection in facility air and fomite samples; rates of laboratory confirmed respiratory illnesses and genomic characteristics. DISCUSSION: Measures that can be deployed rapidly into RACF, that avoid the requirement for changes in resident and staff behaviour, and that are effective in reducing the risk of airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission, would provide considerable benefit in safeguarding a highly vulnerable population. In addition, such measures might substantially reduce rates of other respiratory viruses, which contribute considerably to resident morbidity and mortality. Trial registration Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12621000567820 (registered on 14th May, 2021).

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Australia , Humans , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Treatment Outcome , Ultraviolet Rays