Virtual Reality as a Technological-Aided Solution to Support Communication in Persons With Neurodegenerative Diseases and Acquired Brain Injury During COVID-19 Pandemic

Fabrizio Stasolla, Marta Matamala-Gomez, Sara Bernini, Alessandro O Caffò, Sara Bottiroli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 poses an ongoing threat to lives around the world and challenges the existing public health and medical service delivery. The lockdown or quarantine measures adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has caused the interruption in ongoing care and access to medical care including to patients with existing neurological conditions. Besides the passivity, isolation, and withdrawal, patients with neurodegenerative diseases experience difficulties in communication due to a limited access to leisure opportunities and interaction with friends and relatives. The communication difficulties may exacerbate the burden on the caregivers. Therefore, assistive-technologies may be a useful strategy in mitigating challenges associated with remote communication. The current paper presents an overview of the use of assistive technologies using virtual reality and virtual body ownership in providing communication opportunities to isolated patients, during COVID-19, with neurological diseases and moderate-to-severe communication difficulties. We postulate that the assistive technologies-based intervention may improve social interactions in patients with neurodegenerative diseases and acquired brain injury-thereby reducing isolation and improving their quality of life and mental well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635426
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume8
Issue number635426
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Injuries/therapy
  • COVID-19
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility/organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Inventions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases/therapy
  • Pandemics
  • Quarantine
  • Telemedicine/methods
  • Virtual Reality

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