Humanoid robots coming to aid in dementia care provision: 16 humanoid robots working to augment care in 8 nursing homes across Minnesota

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BACKGROUND: Dementia is a growing problem that is the cause for an increase in care provision needs. Staff shortages are having an adverse effect by creating an atmosphere where the people affected with dementia feel neglected and isolated. This is resulting in reduced quality of life for the people residing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Family members and caregivers have been forced to reduce contact with the residents due to the fear of infection given the vulnerability of the residents. The residents are losing emotional stimulation and this is adversely affecting their disease progression. METHOD: Freeing caregivers of mundane caregiving activities that require more patience and less caregiving in activities such as reminding/prompting, watching and monitoring can allow them to focus on activities that require more attention and will benefit the residents. Repetitive activities such as prompting, reminding of daily living activities such as brushing teeth and hair, washing hands, keeping the oxygen or face mask on etc. can be repetitive and stressful for caregivers. If these activities can be performed by a humanoid robot that can repeat the same activity or prompt without getting frustrated or changing the tone, the caregivers will have more time to tend to activities that require more attention such as medication management, tending to finances, medical followup appointments etc. University of Minnesota is collaborating with nursing homes in deploying robots to help augment care in the domains of emotion, cognition and physical wellbeing. These robots will have tasks assigned to them that they will perform throughout the day. They work in conjunction with sensors that will provide them with stimulation and feedback for tracking and monitoring activities of daily living. The sensors will also track the physiological well being to ensure the residents are not adversely affected by the robots. RESULT: Humanoid robots are being deployed in nursing homes. A combination of humanoid robots and wearable and spatial sensors track and monitor care provision for residents at nursing homes. CONCLUSION: The humanoid robots are helping fill staff shortage gaps. Most importantly residents feel more engaged and have an improved sense of wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e061143
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022

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© 2022 the Alzheimer's Association.


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