Using Commercial Video Games for Falls Prevention in Older Adults: The Way for the Future?

Pietrzak, Eva, Cotea, Cristina and Pullman, Stephen (2014) Using Commercial Video Games for Falls Prevention in Older Adults: The Way for the Future?. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, 37 4: 166-177. doi:10.1519/JPT.0b013e3182abe76e

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Author Pietrzak, Eva
Cotea, Cristina
Pullman, Stephen
Title Using Commercial Video Games for Falls Prevention in Older Adults: The Way for the Future?
Journal name Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1539-8412
Publication date 2014-10
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1519/JPT.0b013e3182abe76e
Open Access Status
Volume 37
Issue 4
Start page 166
End page 177
Total pages 12
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background and Purpose: Falls in older adults are an increasingly costly public health issue. There are many fall prevention strategies that are effective. However, with an increasing population of older people and ever-decreasing availability of health practitioners and health funding, novel modes of intervention are being developed, including those relying on computer technologies. 
The aim of this article was to review the literature on the use of exergaming to prevent falls in older adult persons living in
the community. 

Methods: The Cochrane, Medline, and Embase databases were searched using prespecifi ed search terms. To be included, studies had to investigate the effect of using commercially available consoles  and video games on outcome measures such as a decrease  in falls, improvements in balance control or gait parameters,  decreased fear of falling, and attitude to exercise in older adult  persons living in the community. All study designs with the exception  of single-person case studies were included. Articles had to be published in peer-reviewed journals in the English language.  

Results: Nineteen studies fulfi lled the inclusion criteria. The following outcomes were observed: (1) using computer-based virtual reality gaming for balance training in older adults was feasible; (2) the majority of studies showed a positive effect of exergaming on balance control; (3) some studies showed a positive effect on balance confi dence and gait parameters; (4) the effect was seen across the age and sex spectrum of older adults, including those with and without balance impairment.

Conclusions: There is as yet no evidence that using virtual reality games will prevent falls, but there is an indication that
their use in balance training may improve balance control, which in turn may lead to falls prevention.
Keyword Balance training
Falls prevention
Older Adults
Video games
Virtual reality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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