OBJECTIVES: Immersive technologies such as virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can potentially help health professionals and trainees understand psychological symptoms and responsive behaviours associated with dementia within a safe and supportive learning environment. This integrative review sought to ascertain the types of VR and AR-based interventions used in dementia education and training and its efficacy to improve knowledge and attitudes of health professionals or trainees.
DESIGN: The protocol was submitted to PROSPERO and literature published from 2000 onwards was searched in eight databases: CINAHL, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane, Embase, PsycINFO, ERIC and Scopus. A total of 19 articles were included and assessed with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Methodological quality varied across studies.
RESULTS: VR rather than AR-based intervention are used in dementia education and training for health professional and trainees. Immersive virtual learning potentially enhance knowledge, attitudes, empathy and sensitivity of health professionals and trainees.
CONCLUSIONS: While promising, there remains a lack of conclusive and robust evidence to fully recommend the introduction and inclusion of immersive virtual learning in dementia education and training. Additional rigorously designed research studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefits on attitudes, empathy, sensitivity and knowledge.
PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42020182083.