Hospital Buddy: A Persistent Emotional Support Companion Agent for Hospital Patients

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Abstract

The hospital experience can be disempowering and disorientating. Patients are deprived of sleep deprivation and exposed to constant noise, frequent interruptions, an unfamiliar environment filled with changing health professionals and ancillary staff, as well as medications often fraught with physical or psychoactive side-effects. These conditions often lead to discomfort and anxiety, and commonly induce delirium (especially in older adults), a neuropsychiatric condition in patients that results in clinically significant cognitive and perceptional problems. Simultaneously, because patients are usually alone in their rooms until a medical intervention is required they often are bored and starved for personal attention.