UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The benefits of and barriers to using a social robot PARO in care settings: a scoping review Hung, Lillian; Liu, Cindy; Woldum, Evan; Au-Yeung, Andy; Berndt, Annette; Wallsworth, Christine; Horne, Neil; Gregorio, Mario; Mann, Jim; Chaudhury, Habib


Background: Given the complexity of providing dementia care in hospitals, integrating technology into practice is a high challenge and an important opportunity. Although there are a growing demand and interest in using social robots in a variety of care settings to support dementia care, little is known about the impacts of the robotics and their application in care settings, i.e., what worked, in which situations, and how. Methods: Scientific databases and Google Scholar were searched to identify publications published since 2000. The inclusion criteria consisted of older people with dementia, care setting, and social robot PARO. Results: A total of 29 papers were included in the review. Content analysis identified 3 key benefits of and 3 barriers to the use of PARO. Main benefits include: reducing negative emotion and behavioral symptoms, improving social engagement, and promoting positive mood and quality of care experience. Key barriers are: cost and workload, infection concerns, and stigma and ethical issues. This review reveals 3 research gaps: (a) the users’ needs and experiences remain unexplored, (b) few studies investigate the process of how to use the robot effectively to meet clinical needs, and (c) theory should be used to guide implementation. Conclusions: Most interventions conducted have been primarily researcher-focused. Future research should pay more attention to the clinical needs of the patient population and develop strategies to overcome barriers to the adoption of PARO in order to maximize patient benefits.

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