Dec 302010
 
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Front-line staff in the nursing and care sector would welcome sensor and robot technology in nursing homes and the homes of elderly people.

The reason is that such a move would free up time that personnel could use for social contact with clients. They also believe that sensors and robots will enable elderly people to stay longer in their own homes.

These are some of the results of a study carried out by SINTEF for the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities. The background for the study is the “elderly boom” and the challenges that the nursing and care sector will face when fewer and fewer people of working age have to look after a rapidly growing population of old people.

Freeing up time

The survey found that staff regard cleaning, and moving and lifting patients as potential applications for “care and nursing robots”. They also concluded that the development and introduction of new technology should take place in such a way that the level of social support that they provide will be maintained, or preferably, be improved.

Several different categories of nursing and care personnel in Porsanger, Kongsberg and Trondheim were interviewed; of these, 29 individual staff members were interviewed in depth.

At first, many of the informants were sceptical to the idea of introducing robots into Norwegian homes and nursing homes. However, in the course of the interviews many of them began to mention situations in which they could imagine using a robot.

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