Can robots help save social care?

robot

An army of social robots is being developed by academics to help solve the social care crisis.

The ‘Pepper Robots’, which have human-like care skills, are manufactured by  Softbank Robotics, and are already used in thousands of home in Japan, the BBC reports.

Professor Irena Papadopoulos, an expert in trans-cultural nursing, said: “As people live longer, health systems are put under increasing pressure.

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“In the UK alone, 15,000 people are over 100 years of age and this figure will only increase.

“Assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressures in hospitals and care homes as well as improving care delivery at home and promoting independent living for the elderly.

“It is not a question of replacing human support but enhancing and complementing existing care.”

She added: “We are starting with care homes and with people who are semi-independent living in sheltered housing, but we do believe that in the future the robots would become acceptable for people to have in their own homes.”

Researchers from Middlesex University and the University of Bedfordshire are supporting the £2m project, which is being funded by the EU and the Japanese government.

Developers hope the robots, which will be tested Advinia Healthcare care homes in the UK, are expected to be ready within three years.

Advinia executive chairman Dr Sanjeev Kanoria said: “Robots can support care workers by helping to reduce errors in medication and assisting them with advanced technology to help vulnerable residents, live safer independent lives in care homes and at home.”

 

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