Healthcare Robots in Homes of Rural Older Adults
Older adults in rural communities who have chronic health conditions are often isolated from social support and medical clinics. Robots may be able to assist with day to day healthcare and provide companionship. This paper presents four case studies of older adults who had chronic health conditions in a rural community. They were given a healthcare robot in their homes for a period of three months to a year. The robot reminded people to take medications, had entertainment and memory games, and skype. Rates of hospitalizations, primary care visits, and phone calls to the medical practitioners before the study began were compared to rates during the study period. Participants also completed questionnaires about their quality of life, mental health, medication adherence, and robot attitudes and were interviewed. The results showed a decrease in primary care visits and phone calls to the practitioners while the robot was present and increases in quality of life were observed. Despite encountering technical issues, patients were mostly positive and accepting of the robot, acknowledging its benefits as a companion.
KeywordsAgeing in place Healthcare robots Companion Adherence Quality of life
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