The benefits of gamification and serious games for rehabilitation

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Contrary to a video game where we are looking for entertainment, serious games combine a playful dimension with a serious and concrete objective (here: motor and neurological rehabilitation). Present in many fields in order to facilitate learning, serious games are revolutionizing the health sector by being defined as real therapeutic tools with an educational purpose. Indeed, they give the impression of playing, while in reality they make the patients work. They are not perceived as a physical, repetitive and complex activity, and this is what will motivate patients to rehabilitate themselves in a gamified way.

Assets and impact of VR in motivation

Virtual reality and serious games will create engagement with patients with the principle of gamification. The advantage of serious games is that they are neither boring nor repetitive for patients, since they will enjoy performing the exercises in virtual reality, and thus increase their exercise time (Popović MD, Kostić MD, Rodić SZ, Konstantinović LM. Rehabilitation then rhymes with motivation, and is less and less restrictive thanks to the new virtual reality therapy.

Thus, being motivated allows the patient to excel at each session and to want to do more, by setting goals. Increasing the amount of time spent exercising then allows for a faster recovery. In addition, being informed about their rehabilitation, feedback and progress also has an impact on the patient's motivation and commitment. (Liss Marita Solbakken, Marita Nordhaug & Kristin Halvorsen (2022): Patients' experiences of involvement, motivation and coping with physiotherapists during subacute stroke rehabilitation - a qualitative study, European Journal of Physiotherapy.)

In addition, the well-being of patients is emphasized, since they will alleviate their stress thanks to the immersion and interaction in the virtual world. Serious games can very well be part of your patients' daily life without being considered as tedious work. Also, serious games are real solutions to help patients fight against kinesophobia!

The use of H'ability and its effect on patient motivation

We administered questionnaires to patients using H'ability in the context of rehabilitation in a care and rehabilitation facility. H'ability was used on a heterogeneous population in terms of pathology.

The questionnaires were distributed to patients and health professionals after a few sessions with H'ability in order to get relevant feedback and not focus on the innovative aspect of the use of the technology.

The results are as follows:

  • 80% of patients feel that they have successfully completed the exercises proposed by their therapist during the H'ability session
  • 94% of patients want to use H'ability again
  • 85% of healthcare professionals who have used the solution find that their patients go further than with conventional rehabilitation exercises
  • 92% of healthcare professionals find their patients more motivated when using H'ability

Thanks to serious games, patients can benefit from a playful rehabilitation (in addition to conventional rehabilitation), which will motivate them more to perform their exercises, and thus set goals by going further in their movements. Nowadays, this new therapy is developing more and more: virtual reality has a promising future in the field of rehabilitation.

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