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Nov 03, 2005

Benefits of activity and virtual reality based balance exercise programmes for adults with traumatic brain injury: Perceptions of participants and their caregivers

Brain Inj. 2005 Nov;19(12):989-1000

Authors: Thornton M, Marshall S, McComas J, Finestone H, McCormick A, Sveistrup H

Objective: To explore multi-dimensional benefits of exercise participation perceived by adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their caregivers.Methods: Adults (n = 27, aged 18-66) with moderate or severe TBI 6 months or more earlier participated in focus groups following 6 weeks of an activity-based (ABE) or a virtual reality (VR) delivered balance exercise programme. Family members and care providers participated in separate focus groups. Perceptions related to programme participation as well as balance confidence and lower extremity function were extracted from focus group verbatim and quantitative scales, respectively.Outcomes: Benefits in three domains, psychosocial, physical and programme, were identified from transcription and analyses of focus group verbatim. Improvements were noted in balance confidence and function in both groups. Substantially greater enthusiasm and knowledge was expressed by participants in the VR group and their caregivers.Conclusions: Both exercise programmes offered benefits in addition to improved balance. The VR participants had greater improvements on quantitative measures and provided more comments expressing enjoyment and improved confidence. Applications in terms of community reintegration and quality of life are discussed.

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