Recent research conducted by the Kessler Foundation describes Actual Reality as a new tool for assessing performance of activities of daily living (ADL) in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The research’s results appear in the article “Actual Reality: Using the Internet to assesses everyday functioning after traumatic brain injury.” The study was designed to examine the use of actual reality in the TBI population.

A news release issued by the foundation notes that study authors included Yael Goverover, PhD, OT, of New York University and Kessler Foundation, and John DeLuca, PhD, senior VP of Research & Training at Kessler Foundation, and professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

During the study, the researchers investigated the feasibility of using everyday technology, such as computers and hand-held devices, to assess how patients perform the common technology-based tasks that are key to daily function; meaning functional ADLs. The release explains that actual reality uses Internet-based technology to assess an individual’s performance on “instrumental” ADLs (iADLs). The study encompassed a total of 10 patients with TBI who were compared to 10 controls. Participants were assessed for their ability to perform an actual reality task involving an online purchase of a cookie assortment for a birthday party. Participants were also assessed for prior Internet experience, and underwent testing for functional status, affect symptomatology, and quality of life.

The results indicate the TBI group experienced greater difficulty in performing the Internet-based task.

Goverover adds that the researchers’ findings “are consistent with studies that show a positive relationship between cognitive impairment and functional disability.” Goverover is a visiting scientist in Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation.

Goverover emphasizes in the release that in order to help individuals achieve independence, rehabilitation professionals require the appropriate assessment tools to guide the development of practical interventions.

“This initial study demonstrates that actual reality is a potential tool for capturing the status of everyday functional activity in individuals with TBI. More studies are needed to support inclusion of Internet-based tasks in clinical assessments of iADLs in the rehabilitation of people with TBI,” Goverover says.

Source: Kessler Foundation