ELOTD student project update: Tara Sarkar

In a previous post, Tara introduced her doctoral project. It has been great to see these projects come to life over the past year. Below is a description and a link to Tara’s 5 minute presentation.


While Virtual Reality (VR) has been shown to be a feasible and effective method to reduce pain for a variety of populations, there is limited evidence and knowledge within the OT community on the feasibility of VR for treating pain for the older adult population. Preliminary studies demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of immersive VR as a treatment tool for older adults in terms of side effects, enjoyment levels, and preference towards relaxation simulations with realistic images. As clients can experience varying comfort levels, preferences, and potential benefits from different pain management methods, OTs can utilize the innovative and customizable VR technology to provide older adults with additional methods to manage their pain with minimal side effects. 

This summer, I had the unique opportunity to conduct a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of VR meditation on older adults with chronic knee osteoarthritis (OA) as part of my Doctoral Experiential Component (DEC) capstone project through Tufts University. Interestingly, this study demonstrated positive results across a variety of categories, indicating that VR meditation is a safe, feasible, and effective tool that older adults with knee OA can use to reduce their pain and improve psychological factors related to pain. I look forward to sharing further details on these results and highlighting the importance for the world of OT practitioners through a poster at the upcoming 2021 MAOT and 2022 AOTA conferences!

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