Most persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) require training and support for self-care management to help prevent the development of serious secondary conditions after hospital discharge. However, adherence to self-care management behaviors is poor once training with a therapist has ended.
We have designed a virtual coach system, in which a relational agent engages individuals with SCI in simulated face-to-face conversations at home, to provide support and motivate adherence to self-care guidelines. We have conducted an exploratory study with ten participants who have SCI, to examine the acceptance of and attitudes towards our system. Results demonstrated that participants were highly receptive of the virtual coach and recognize it as an effective medium to promote self-care. A clinical trial is in progress.