Background: Virtual Reality (VR) is increasingly used in health-related fields and interventions using VR have the potential to be powerful tools in patient management. The aim of this study was to synthesize the effects of VR interventions for people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Methods: Electronic databases were searched to identify studies that used an experimental design to investigate VR intervention outcomes for patients with MCI or dementia. Studies were excluded if the intervention did not focus on VR, if relevant quantitative outcomes were not reported, or if the intended study purpose was assessment or diagnosis. Data were extracted and analyzed from studies that met criteria. To synthesize the intervention effect sizes (ES), we used random effects models to accommodate heterogeneity in the main effect and sub-group analyses. To identify the potential reason for heterogeneity and compare ES according to the moderator variables, subgroup analyses were conducted based on study characteristics and intervention outcomes. Results: Data from eleven studies that met eligibility criteria were analyzed. VR intervention delivered to participants with MCI or dementia produced small to medium effects (ES = 0.29, CI = 0.16, 0.42). The ES for studies using semi-immersive technology (ES = 0.37, CI = 0.25, 0.49) was greater than the studies using full-immersive VR (ES = 0.03, CI = -0.14, 0.21). The results showed small-to-medium effects for VR interventions affecting key outcome variables such as cognition (ES = 0.42, CI = 0.24, 0.60) and physical fitness (ES = 0.41, CI = 0.16, 0.65). Conclusion: VR interventions, particularly of the semi-immersive type, are useful for people with MCI or dementia. These results should contribute to the establishment of practical guidelines for VR interventions for patients with cognitive decline.
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Virtual reality