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Game-Assisted Rehabilitation for Stroke Survivors

15 Aug
Thursday, 08/15/2019 9:30am to 12:30pm
CS 150/151
PhD Thesis Defense
Speaker: Hee-Tae Jung


Stroke causes permanent impairments in motor and cognitive function among its survivors, which negatively affects the survivors' performance in the activities of their daily living and the quality of their lives. In conventional rehabilitation settings, therapists are responsible for monitoring patients' impairment level and maintaining the patients' engagement to rehabilitation regimen in order to maximize patients' therapeutic gain. It is expected that the use of serious games can alleviate therapists' roles and improve patients' therapeutic gain due to the games' potential to objectively assess the patients' performance, which is indicative of their impairment levels, and enhance their engagement level to therapy. However, in clinical sciences, such expected impacts need to be evaluated in a holistic, end-to-end approach that encompasses both quantitative and qualitative evaluations. The validity and efficacy of newly developed technologies need to be quantitatively evaluated in the controlled setting (i.e., quantitative evaluation). However, when technologies are deployed, their actual therapeutic impact in everyday use may be different from what was anticipated. This emphasizes the importance of investigating the technologies' actual use in the actual rehabilitation therapies through the observations of actual uses and the interviews with actual users (i.e., qualitative evaluation).

In this dissertation, I investigate game-assisted rehabilitation in a holistic, end-to-end approach through two separate studies using each of the two evaluation components respectively. The first study introduces a game-based assessment of stroke survivors' cognitive impairment level, which is estimated based on patients' self-administered game play, in clinically validated assessment scores (i.e., Mini-Mental State Examination). The performance of the proposed approach is quantitatively validated based on the data of 12 stroke survivors. The results suggest that the proposed approach enables new opportunities for accurate and longitudinal assessment of cognitive function using games outside clinical settings where patients' access to therapists can be scarce. The second study introduces a qualitative investigation into the interaction dynamics between therapists and patients during routine game-assisted therapy sessions in an actual rehabilitation hospital. The findings, which are based on the analysis of 11 video-recorded therapy sessions and 15 semi-structured interviews, reveal the four distinctive engagement patterns of stroke survivors to game-assisted therapies, the imperative roles of therapists in administering game-assisted therapies, and the practical challenges that therapists experience while assuming their roles.


Advisor: Sunghoon Ivan  Lee