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FUTURE OF CARE: Conference debates the role of robotics in care

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The role of robotics in care was debated at the Future of Care conference in London yesterday.

Dr Chris Papadopoulos of the University of Bedfordshire, a partner in the international CARESSES robotics in care project, was among the keynote speakers at the conference.

CARESSES is a Japanese Government and EU funded pilot project assessing how robotics can be used to assist the elderly in a care setting.

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Addressing the negative coverage of the project from some quarters of the press, Dr Papadopoulos said: “This is about assisting and complementing care as opposed to replacing jobs.”

Robotics trials were launched at several Advinia Healthcare care homes in December 2018 under the project which is due to end in 2020.

During his presentation, Dr Papadopoulos shared a video of an interaction between the Pepper robot, which is manufactured by SoftBank Robotics, and a resident at an Advinia care home.

The clip showed Pepper greeting the resident who requested it to play his favourite Eva Cassidy song using its inbuilt video and audio tablet.

A follow-up panel discussion, chaired by Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association, featuring Anchor Hanover CEO Jane Ashcroft, Martin Jones, Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care, and Taffy Gatawa, Chief Information & Compliance Officer, everyLIFE Technologies, discussed innovation as a catalyst for change in social care, including the ethical issues around the use of robotics.

Jane observed that robots could be used in roles that do not add much value to the care experience, helping free carers to provide more value-added care and upskill their roles.

Countering the argument that robotics should focus on menial tasks, Dr Papadopoulos said: “I don’t think robots should just carry out mundane tasks.

“Let’s not be frightened by this as a way forward. Let us look at what works and what is the ethical way forward.”

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The author Lee Peart

1 Comment

  1. Robots in care project, just what care are these robots doing, can they show empathy, provide judgements, make reasonable adjustments, answer questions, deal with reactive incidents and any other situations that may arise.

    Is this pandering to the publics perceptions of care, which are in the main incorrect.

    Caring is down to common sense principles and the actions need to be adjusted to be responsive to changes of mood, emotional distress, safeguarding , financial assessments and many other aspects.

    Yes, they say these robots are not a means to replace jobs, but can you believe that, for, as costs of care rise, but funding is not keeping pace with supply and demand, in fact it is reducing in reality.

    I can see that they will be used to cover the shortage of carers within the care industry.

    It is not robots that are required but a wage that reflects the responsibilities that carers are required to undertake. When you can be stacking shelves in suppermarkets and earn more per hour than in care, is it any wonder that there is a shortage of suitable care workers.

    It is a wage commiserate with the resonsibilities that is required and not one that is based on the National Living Wage, but one that is based on the Living wage as a starting point.

    With this in mind I ask you to consider the following.

    You may be aware that there is a crisis within Social Care, an even greater crisis than that within health. This because a crisis in Social Care will have a great impact on health making the health crisis even greater.

    Please could you consider supporting the Petition – Pay all employed carers the Living Wage. Petition link https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/236151

    I am involved in a Petition project based on the Care Workers within the Care Industry.

    This industry is in crisis, as is the Health Service, but within Social Care this crisis is even greater. This in turn will create even more pressure on all aspects of the Health Service. Therefore, action is needed to minimise the Social Care crisis and pay paid carers a reasonable wage is one of these actions, so there is now a petition.

    Please, therefore, could you support the Petition – Pay all employed carers the Living Wage Flash, (Families Lobbying & Advising Sheffield), a group of family carers of relatives with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism in Sheffield are concerned at the state of Social Care, not only in Sheffield, but throughout the UK.

    We all know that there is a major crisis in Social Care not just in Sheffield, but all over the UK. This is in a large part due to the lack of persons willing to come into the Care Industry, of which the low pay is a prime factor.

    Parliament are aware and have formed a Cross Party Committee to look at funding, recruitment and pay for Care Workers in the Care Industry.

    The Government currently have a recruitment campaign for the Care Industry ‘Every Day is Different’ https://carervoice.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/new-campaign-to-recruit-thousands-more-adult-social-care-staff-gov-uk/comment-page-1/#comment-57 .

    However, there is no mention of pay.

    Please therefore, could you consider the following #pay #employed #wage#funding #government#serviceproviders #living

    Could you look at promoting the Petition – ‘Pay all employed carers the Living Wage, created by FLASh (Families Lobbying & Advising Sheffield).

    Petition link https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/236151

    Please sign this Petition, however, until you then click the signature verification link in the resulting email your signature will not be valid and will therefore not count re supporting the Petition cause.

    More information https://1drv.ms/w/s!Aq2MsYduiazglWxA60JAY_2cpvN8

    We need this Tory Government to end Austerity Cuts to Local Authorities and then increase the Grants to these Authorities so they can fund Care Service Providers to be able to pay their care workers at least the Living Wage.

    Please also see the HFT report ‘Sector Pulse Check’, https://1drv.ms/w/s!Aq2MsYduiazglXuM7Duz6HOYXvsv

    The care sector needs to recruit 128,000 new workers each year to replace those who retire or leave, new research has found.

    The study (http://careassociationalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Care-Association-Alliance-Social-care-Workforce-Analysis-2018.pdf) by the Care Association Alliance and law firm Royds Withy King found that one in three workers leave the sector every year – the highest turnover rate of all job sectors in the UK.

    If the Petition attains 10,000 signatures, the Government will respond and if 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

    Please support and share with your work colleagues, family & friends, Social Media, MP and Local Councillors.

    For any further information Chris can be contacted on carervoice@gmail.com

    Thank of you

    Chris Sterry
    Vice-chair of FLASh

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