In order to test the efficacy of our VR interventions and refine our processes, H4H will open its operation with a year-long pilot project. We will carefully select ten participants, controlling for as many variables as possible so that our data can contribute to the growing body of research on the therapeutic utility of VR.
Image © Shutterstock 2022
Participants will undergo at least two in-person assessments designed to provide effective guidance as well as safeguarding. These assessments will look both at the health needs of the individual and the safety of their home environment as it relates to VR play. At this point we will also administer a suite of surveys and in-depth interviews to help us understand their current medical, social, and emotional circumstances.
Participants will be provided with a Fitbit along with a Meta Quest 2 headset and any appropriate adapters. Headsets will be preloaded with a selection of appropriate games with additional games added as appropriate. Participants will have access to a private knowledge base to help them decide which games are appropriate for their needs and abilities, as well as a social space both in and outside of VR where, if they choose, they can socialise and share tips with their fellow participants.
The pilot begins with each participant wearing their Fitbit for one month while living their lives as normal. During the study we will track movement and heartrate, as well as data from the headsets about which games were played and for how long. Participants will also fill out a very short weekly health and mood survey via email. After one year we will close out our data collection by repeating the same surveys and interviews from the assessment phase. Once analysed, our data will be made available so that we can add to the growing body of VR research.
In order to maintain safe usage, we will recommend that participants use their VR for short sessions at first, with frequent rest breaks. Additional support will be available to participants who are struggling to use their headsets regularly, and all participants are free to leave the study at any time for any reason. All equipment will remain the property of H4H-VR, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all participants have working headsets. At the end of the pilot all interested participants will become regular clients of H4H-VR.
After the pilot, we will take what we've learned and refine our processes. We hope that a successful pilot will make the project more interesting to funding agencies so that we are able to take on even more clients. We also want to support other organisations to integrate VR for anyone whose health restricts their movement, including care homes, community outreach groups, dialysis and chemo wards, and more. And we will continue to spread the word about VR's utility until this project no longer seems novel.
Want to help this project go forward? Click here to find out how.
Interested in participating in the pilot? Apply for our waiting list here.