Rehabilitation of the psychomotor consequences of falling in an elderly population: A pilot study to evaluate feasibility and tolerability of virtual reality training

Technol Health Care. 2016;24(2):169-75. doi: 10.3233/THC-151114.


Background: A fall in elderly subjects can lead to serious psychological consequences. These symptoms can develop into Fear of Falling with behavioural disorders comparable to PTSD that may severely limit autonomy. Virtual reality training (VRT) could be seen as a worthwhile therapeutic approach for this syndrome since it has been shown to be a useful tool for motor rehabilitation or combat-related PTSD. We thus developed a training scenario for VRT with psychomotor therapists.

Objective: To test the feasibility and acceptability of VRT when used by elderly adults for fall rehabilitation.

Methods: Our population of 8 patients older than 75 years, with a Mini Mental Score Examination greater than 18/30 performed sessions of VRT and answered a questionnaire on the feasibility and acceptability of it.

Results: This sample showed a highly favourable response to the prototype of VRT. They found it easy to use, enjoyed the experience, and thought it realistic and helpful.

Conclusion: The conclusions of our study are limited by sample size. However, applications with VRT can offer the potential of an acceptable technique for elderly subjects. The next step will be to show the efficacy of this method in the management of post-fall PTSD.

Keywords: Rehabilitation; elderly population; psychomotor consequences of fall; virtual reality training.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • User-Computer Interface*