Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Telehealth has been used to alleviate the impact of occupational deprivation in rural communities (American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA], 2018). There is continuing research on the development of telehealth in the occupational therapy profession. An emerging type of technology utilized in occupational therapy consists of using immersive VR interventions to increase client's performance skills (Karamians, Proffitt, Kline & Gauthier, 2019; Kwan, Park, Yoon & Park, 2012; Halton, 2008; Weiss Rand, Katz & Kizony, 2004). The combination of immersive VR and telehealth allows occupational therapy practitioners to interact, evaluate, and intervene with clients living in rural communities. The immersive VR system encourages engagement in occupations by rehabilitation of the client's performance skills and provides opportunities for the client and practitioner to work with one another to achieve tasks within the client's virtual context. Using telehealth and immersive VR allows the practitioner to engage with the client in both the virtual context and the client's natural context. Dunn, Brown and McGuigan (1994) and Turpin & Iwama (2011) explain that occupational performance cannot be fully understood outside of the natural context. A therapeutic manual has been developed which uses the Oculus Quest© immersive VR system, created by Facebook Technologies LLC. The Oculus Quest© interventions will be delivered using telehealth for clients living in rural communities. The manual provides occupational therapy practitioners with information needed to utilize immersive VR and telehealth during the therapy process in the client's natural environment. The manual is intended for the occupational therapy practitioners interested in adding immersive VR technology to their rural practice. Practical information and considerations for effective use of immersive VR technology are included in the manual.
Wahlert, Brock and Utech, Emily, "Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) and Telehealth to Promote Engagement in Occupations for Rural Populations: Manual for Occupational Therapists" (2021). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 484.