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Rehabilitation training for stroke patients is mostly based on face-to-face contact. This affects the routine training during the coronavirus disease outbreak in many hospitals worldwide, including Oman. Perhaps, this problem can be overcome using a virtual reality system. This protocol study aims to compare the outcome measures of the two groups of stroke patients (virtual reality intervention vs. conventional control) on these two modes of rehabilitation training. A randomized controlled trial with pre-/post-study of 42 stroke patients (21 control vs. 21 intervention) with upper limb motor impairments, aged 18-65 years old, newly admitted to the rehabilitation clinic in Oman, will be recruited. Basic demographic data and three major outcome assessments will be collected pre-/post-period. Baseline assessment (pre) on admission to the stroke rehabilitation program and after completion (post). Participants will be assessed by Barthel Index, Action Research Arm scale, and time spent per session with costs involved by the workforce in training. Repeated measures general linear model will examine the within, between, and interaction effects while adjusted by demographic data. All analyses will use IBM SPSS software, and a statistical significance level of p<0.05 will be employed. This research protocol aims to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of VR in improving motor control in stroke patients with upper limb weakness by comparing a low-cost VR platform with face-to-face training. If the proposed training protocol is helpful and easy to use, it could become a reliable tool to assist healthcare professionals for stroke patients during their rehabilitation training. This protocol will contribute to the theoretical discussion of integrating high-tech equipment with healthcare theory for stroke patients with learning disabilities. Also, adopting a virtual reality system could aid if a sudden pandemic outbreak. It could continue offering its services while maintaining a high standard of care for stroke sufferers.
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