What’s the perception of formal caregivers on this?
A study by Dr Anthony Scerri and Dr Roberta Sammut from the Department of Nursing explores formal caregivers’ perceptions and experiences of using pet robots to comfort and assist persons living with dementia.
Pet robots, sometimes referred to as ‘robopets’ are small animal-like social robots that can interact with humans in several ways and substitute companion animals or pets.
Using what is called Noblit and Hare’s interpretative meta-ethnography (a seven-phase methodology developed by a pair of sociologists to be used in health contexts), Dr Scerri & Dr Sammut sought to take a deeper look at the factors influencing the perception of caregivers by evaluating, integrating, and synthesising findings from relevant international research articles.
They looked at eight articles between 2013-2018, which were identified following a systematic search of four databases, namely Scopus, ProQuest Central, EBSCO and Google Scholar, and the two researchers independently appraised the selected articles.
It has been observed that pet robots are a beneficial tool but not for everybody; a positive experience if appropriately introduced and sustained.
One reason why pet robots are sometimes not used is the lack of knowledge in how it could be used therapeutically in different situations and the fear of breaking it. Only prior training and support will effectively encourage this.
The findings of this study were published in a paper titled ‘Formal caregivers’ perceptions and experiences of using pet robots for persons living with dementia in long-term care: A meta-ethnography’ on Wiley’s Journal of Advanced Nursing, and may be accessed in its entirety online.