ROBOTICS IN HOMECARE – THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS THROUGH A CASE STUDY
Laurea University of Applied Sciences (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Europe is tackling today with the huge challenges of ageing society and ageing population. From the point of view elderly people as senior citizens there is a need for supporting elderly people´s health and wellbeing through the development of the health and wellbeing technology such as robotics towards the development of new services. There is a challenge to develop different types of the robots and services that enhance to support the elderly people living independently at their own homes. Cities or municipalities, companies, academic, and professionals from public and private healthcare and social welfare field and users should cooperate together for co creating better and age friendly services using robots.
The purpose of the presentation is to describe how care robots can be used in homecare for supporting elderly people at home. The aim is to describe the development process as a case study, finding out how homecare workers see their own present work at homecare and what conceptions and expectations homecare workers have in robotics. The video of the possible robotics will be shown during the presentation. The study is a starting point for conducting Living Lab research aiming to answer the questions what new services can be developed through the robotics and how care robots can be used in home care context.
The main research project is called Robots and Future of Welfare Services (ROSE) and it is funded by Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland. The project adopts a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to study how advances in robot and perception technologies allow product and service innovation and renewal of welfare services. The consortium partners are: Aalto University (coordinator), Tampere University of Technology, School of Social Sciences University of Tampere, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Laurea and Lappeenranta University of Technology.
The sub-project of Laurea has focused on the user perspectives towards robots and robotic innovations in welfare and health services especially in elderly care. In particular, the introduction of robots into home care for the elderly, conceptions, expectations and attitudes of the professionals have been studied The ethical issues of using robots in this context were also analyzed.
The data was collected through the focus group interviews (n=14) during two phases and also through individual based assignment including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The participants were home care workers (n=75). The data was analyzed by qualitative content analysis.
The main categories of the present situation at home care are: description of clients, circumstances in home environments, actions of homecare visit and used time. Main categories; fears towards robots, benefits of the robots, characteristics of the robots, an interactive ability of the robots, possibilities of the robotics in homecare and robots in client´s holistic situation reflected conceptions and expectations towards robotics. The main characteristics and benefits of the robots are a robot as a reminder and monitoring and adding safety and support for the elderly.
Findings are the basis for the design of future pilots. The Living lab methdodology will be used for testing care robots and developing new welfare services using care robots. The challenge is elderly people´s active participation and role in cocreating together new services using robotics in homecare context.
Keywords: Care robots, elderly people, homecare, Living Lab, robotics.