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Using a Robotic Cat in Dementia Care: A Pilot Study

Christine Gustafsson, PhD, MSc, RNT; Camilla Svanberg, MSc, RN; Maria Müllersdorf, PhD, OTR

Abstract

The current study aimed to explore (a) reactions of individuals with dementia to an interactive robotic cat and their relatives’ and professional caregivers’ experiences, and (b) to measure usability in developing the care/treatment of individuals with dementia using interactive robotic pets. An intervention design in a pilot study using mixed methods was conducted in two stages: a quantitative single-case study (n = 4) and a qualitative interview study (n = 14). Results indicated less agitated behavior and better quality of life for individuals with dementia. Interviews showed positive effects by providing increased interaction, communication, stimulation, relaxation, peace, and comfort to individuals with dementia. The tested interactive robotic cat was also considered easy to use. There is an increased need for alternative/complementary forms of care to meet an increasing number of individuals with dementia. For some individuals with dementia, an interactive robot, such as a robotic cat, can increase well-being and quality of life. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 41(10), 46–56.]

Authors

Dr. Gustafsson is Senior Lecturer, Ms. Svanberg is Lecturer, and Dr. Müllersdorf is Associate Professor, School of Health, Care, and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna and Västerås, Sweden.

The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. The study was supported by the Social Contract (Samhällskontraktet) and Robotdalen. The authors thank the study participants and staff at Attendo Care Eskilshem, and the School of Health, Care, and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Sweden, for support during the process of the study.

Address correspondence to Christine Gustafsson, PhD, MSc, RNT, Senior Lecturer, Mälardalen University, Box 325, SE-631 05 Eskilstuna, Sweden; e-mail: christine.gustafsson@mdh.se.

Received: January 02, 2015
Accepted: July 28, 2015

10.3928/00989134-20150806-44

The current study aimed to explore (a) reactions of individuals with dementia to an interactive robotic cat and their relatives’ and professional caregivers’ experiences, and (b) to measure usability in developing the care/treatment of individuals with dementia using interactive robotic pets. An intervention design in a pilot study using mixed methods was conducted in two stages: a quantitative single-case study (n = 4) and a qualitative interview study (n = 14). Results indicated less agitated behavior and better quality of life for individuals with dementia. Interviews showed positive effects by providing increased interaction, communication, stimulation, relaxation, peace, and comfort to individuals with dementia. The tested interactive robotic cat was also considered easy to use. There is an increased need for alternative/complementary forms of care to meet an increasing number of individuals with dementia. For some individuals with dementia, an interactive robot, such as a robotic cat, can increase well-being and quality of life. [Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 41(10), 46–56.]

Dr. Gustafsson is Senior Lecturer, Ms. Svanberg is Lecturer, and Dr. Müllersdorf is Associate Professor, School of Health, Care, and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna and Västerås, Sweden.

The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. The study was supported by the Social Contract (Samhällskontraktet) and Robotdalen. The authors thank the study participants and staff at Attendo Care Eskilshem, and the School of Health, Care, and Social Welfare, Mälardalen University, Sweden, for support during the process of the study.

Address correspondence to Christine Gustafsson, PhD, MSc, RNT, Senior Lecturer, Mälardalen University, Box 325, SE-631 05 Eskilstuna, Sweden; e-mail: christine.gustafsson@mdh.se.

Received: January 02, 2015
Accepted: July 28, 2015
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