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Title: Exploring the impact of a brief virtual reality dementia simulation on healthy adults' willingness to care, dementia worry and ageing anxiety
Author: Parson, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 844X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Literature Review. AIM: Dementia and ageing simulations are an increasingly popular method of seeking to improve attitudes towards people with dementia (PwD) and older adults. This systematic review investigates how dementia and ageing simulations are conducted, and their impact on adults' attitudes, empathy and anxiety towards older adults and PwD. METHOD: PsycInfo, Embase and CINAHL were searched for papers meeting review criteria published in the period January 2000 to January 2018. A hand-search of grey literature sites, key authors and journals was also conducted. The quality of papers was assessed using an adapted version of the Effective Public Health Practice Project tool. Study findings were summarised using a narrative synthesis. RESULTS: Fifteen studies were included in the review. Study quality was mixed. Simulation methods identified included Ageing Equipment, Standardised Ageing Games, Immersive Multi-Sensory Experiences and virtual reality. Empathy consistently improved in response to simulation, but attitude findings were inconclusive. Few studies measured anxiety and there was some indication it heightened in response to simulation. CONCLUSIONS: Dementia and ageing simulations likely improve empathy in individuals, but they do not consistently improve attitudes. There is potential for unintended consequences regarding attitudes and anxiety. Simulation training must therefore be used with careful consideration. The developing area of dementia simulation requires further investigation to ascertain how it affects behaviour towards older adults and PwD. Empirical Paper. AIM: The aims of this study were to investigate the feasibility of delivering a brief virtual reality (VR) dementia simulation using participants' own devices; to evaluate the impact of the simulation on healthy adults' attitudes towards willingness to care (WTC) for people with dementia (PwD), dementia and ageing; and to explore predictors of WTC. METHOD: The study was conducted online via Qualtrics. Healthy adult participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups, VR dementia simulation (VRDS) or Control, stratified according to previous experience of dementia. VRDS participants were exposed to a brief VR dementia simulation prior to completing self-report measures of WTC, dementia worry (DW) and ageing anxiety (AA). Control participants completed the measures prior to exposure to the simulation. All participants completed post-simulation ratings on usability of the VR and compassion. Between group comparisons were conducted using ANCOVAs and a hierarchical logistic regression was performed to ascertain predictors of WTC. RESULTS: There were 247 participants (124 VRDS, 123 Control) aged between 18 and 80 years old, 80.4% were female and 77.3% had prior experience of dementia. Participants reported high levels of compassion towards PwD after experiencing the simulation but there was no difference between simulation and control groups regarding WTC (F (1, 196) = .118, p = .732), DW (F (1, 196) = 1.030, p = .331) or AA (F (1, 196) = .518, p = .472). Contrary to expectations, 38.8% of participants related more to the family carer, than the person with dementia, during the simulation. Significant predictors of higher WTC were high perceived ability to care, low fear of old people and low psychological concerns about ageing. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to deliver brief VR dementia simulation on participants' own devices during which compassion towards PwD is felt. This method of dementia simulation does not necessarily result in a 'first person' immersive experience and did not have a measurable positive impact on adults' WTC. This study finds no evidence of simulation resulting in a negative impact on anxiety about dementia or ageing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available