Promoting activity in long-term care facilities with the social robot Pepper: a pilot study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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About 40 000 individuals depend on assisted living in long-term care facilities in Norway. Around 80% of these have a cognitive impairment or suffer from dementia. This actualizes the need for activities that are tailored to individual needs. For some users, technology-assisted participation in communal activities can be an alternative approach to increasing their quality of life. To gain insight about the experiences of residents and healthcare professionals in long-term care facilities when interacting with the social robot Pepper. This is a qualitative pilot study. After a series of interventions with the robot in a long-term care facility, data were collected through individual interviews with healthcare professional and residents. These were analyzed through a qualitative content analysis. A thematic analysis identified three major themes: 1) Activity, joy and ambivalence, 2) challenges when introducing social robots in contexts of care and 3) thoughts about the future. Although employees and residents report that they enjoyed interactions with the social robot, highlighting opportunities for novel types of activities and action that differed from the daily routine, the subjects articulated several concerns and challenges. Developments in intelligent social robots is still in its infancy, despite much hype.