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Robotics in aged care having an impact

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What we used to see in the movies is now becoming a reality, with robotics in aged care having an impact in the aged care industry in a big way shortly.

Whether it is for providing a higher standard of living for residents in facilities or in creating a more manageable workload for carers, robotics certainly can assist.

Robots assisting carers

Carers are often required to lift aged care residents to shift them in bed or help them walk to another room. Robots are currently being developed to assist with these types of movements.

Utilising robotics in aged care facilities is not an entirely new idea. Aged care facilities in Sydney are already using robotics. For example, there are two robots named Chairman Nao and Nero, which are currently being used at the Mark Moran Aged Care facility located in Vaucluse, Sydney. These robots run exercise classes, aid with rehabilitation and assist residents to move throughout the facility.

Another robot called Matilda has been used in a clinical trial in four residential aged care facilities in Australia. Matilda has a very specific function and is primarily used to engage those suffering from dementia.

The clinical trial found that the emotional, visual and behavioural engagement provided by Matilda led to significant improvements in residents. These included decreasing restless behaviour and reducing the use of psychotropic medications. Another vital function performed by Matilda was reminding residents of their daily schedule such as when medication was due to be taken or administered.

La Trobe University Professor Rajiv Khosla with Matilda

 

 

Criticism of robotics in aged care unfounded

The use of robotics in aged care has been criticised. While some may argue that robotics will negate the positive effects of human interaction, research has proven that robotics can lead to positive results for older individual’s mental and physical wellbeing.

There is no denying that humans will continue to be the primary caregivers in aged care facilities. However, the use of robotics can certainly lighten the workload and create new, fun experiences for residents.

 

Sources:

https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/talking-aged-care/the-future-is-here-robots-in-aged-care

https://australianageingagenda.com.au/2017/01/11/robot-matilda-helps-engage-older-people-living-with-dementia-new-research-shows/

 

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