13 July 2022

Countering sedentary behaviour in hospitals with games

When you end up in the hospital, you often spend a lot of time in your bed. A visit to the recreation room or a walk to the toilet is then but little exercise, while that is important for the recovery and well-being of many patients. So how do you change this? Students Kevin Wieling and Julian Tekstra got to work on their project.

Sedentary behavior

The necessary research has already been done into sedentary behavior of hospital patients. This refers to behavior in which the energy consumption only just exceeds the resting metabolism (1.0-1.5 ME). In some cases this is of course necessary, but there are plenty of cases where sitting still and lying down for long periods of time actually causes deterioration. Also in rehabilitation processes, encouraging movement, can also be very importat. The challenge is of course; what is an appropriate way to encourage different behavior?

Motivational research

The starting point for Kevin and Julian was a motivation study. The hospital in question had already run a pilot with a walking route, in which videos could be called up via QR codes. However, the motivation to move did not materialize, so the idea of a game was born here. The students then conducted research into what motivates people outside of games. The main conclusion here was that extrinsic motivation (motivation cultivated by a reward) works very well in the short term and intrinsic motivation (motivation cultivated for achieving the goal) works very well in the long term and should therefore be combined for a lasting effect.

Gamification can be a solution for this and that is the direction the students, both with a profile in Software Engineering and a specialization in Game Design, explored within their project.

Scoring game points by walking around

To this end, Kevin and Julian developed a game that builds on the success of word games, encouraging patients to walk. Namely, by scanning QR codes, they can get more attempts to guess a word in a kind of Lingo game. This makes it easy to move more, but also doesn't set the bar too high for patients. The game is now ready for use and can also be deployed.

Focus on UX

Kevin and Julian focused on the user experience during the process. To this end, the game/mobile app has been extensively tested with the target group, but also among other students to smoothen the UX design. Motivation was also a part of this; which elements do or do not have an effect on the motivation of the user. An extensive, but extremely instructive process. They tell more about it in the video.

Students interested in graduating with a lectureship project within the Fontys ICT InnovationLab can contact Bart van Gennip and/or Teague Murray Marshall for the possibilities.

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