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The application and usefulness of virtual reality aimed at encouraging an understanding of and reducing and eliminating prejudice towards dementia patients among local residents

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  • 地域住民の認知症者に対する理解の促進と偏見の軽減・除去に関するバーチャルリアリティ技術の応用と有用性
  • チイキ ジュウミン ノ ニンチショウシャ ニ タイスル リカイ ノ ソクシン ト ヘンケン ノ ケイゲン ・ ジョキョ ニ カンスル バーチャルリアリティ ギジュツ ノ オウヨウ ト ユウヨウセイ

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Abstract

<p>Aim: To demonstrate the usefulness of a virtual reality device that authentically portrays the emotions of dementia patients and their families (VR Dementia Experience) for encouraging an understanding of and reducing and eliminating prejudice towards dementia patients among local residents.</p><p>Method: In Prefecture T, Town N, 85 residents of Neighborhood A were chosen as the intervention group, and 95 residents of Neighborhood B were chosen as the non-intervention group. The VR Dementia Experience was provided only to the residents of Neighborhood A. Residents of both neighborhoods completed a 35-item questionnaire regarding their degree of understanding and prejudice towards dementia patients before and after the intervention.</p><p>Results: Seventy-seven residents of Neighborhood A and 82 residents of Neighborhood B were analyzed. Their gender, age, and pre-intervention test baseline values were equivalent in the degree of understanding and prejudice. Significant increases were observed in 9 of 35 items for Neighborhood A residents (7 understanding-related, 2 prejudice-related) and 2 items for Neighborhood B residents (1 understanding-related, 1 prejudice-related). To ascertain the usefulness of the VR Dementia Experience, we compared the number of items with a significant increase: 9/35 (25.7%) in Neighborhood A and 2/35 (5.7%) in Neighborhood B. An effect (≥ 20%) was observed among the residents of Neighborhood A. Furthermore, after exposure to the VR Dementia Experience, the connection between understanding, prejudice, and dementia was strengthened among the residents of Neighborhood A compared to the residents of Neighborhood B.</p><p>Conclusion: The VR Dementia Experience is a useful tool for encouraging an understanding of and reducing and eliminating prejudice towards dementia patients among local residents. However, to encourage the widespread usage of the technology, we should compare results with other public awareness campaigns as well as make improvements to the device and its VR content.</p>

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