RESEARCH: Perceptions of using videogames in rehabilitation: a dual perspective of people with multiple sclerosis and physiotherapists

Disability and Rehabilitation, 2015; 37(4): 338–344

Anette Forsberg, Ylva Nilsagard, and Katrin Bostrom

Purpose: Our aim was to describe experiences of using Nintendo Wii Fit for balance exercise,
from the perspectives of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and their physiotherapists (PT).

Methods: Individual interviews with 15 patients with MS were conducted, recruited from a
multi-centre study investigating the effects of balance exercising using Wii Fit. We also
conducted a single focus group interview with nine PT involved in the study. The interviews
were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using content analysis.

Results: Both patients and PT said that exercising with Wii Fit games was fun, and that it challenged the patients’
physical and cognitive capacities. The competitive content in the games provided motivation to
continue playing. Patients and PT reported improved body control and, more importantly,
positive effects on balance and walking in daily life. The PT regarded Wii training as an effective
alternative to other balance training, but some felt unsure in how to manage the video game.
The patients regarded Wii training as a possible home training solution.

Conclusions: Patients with MS and their PT considered Wii Fit exercises to be fun, challenging, and self-motivating. Exercising with Wii games can address balance impairments in MS, and can be performed at
home as well as in rehabilitation settings.

Multiple sclerosis, physiotherapists, postural balance, qualitative research, videogames


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