Aged care provider trials use of robot for heavy lifting, giving staff more time with residents

A NSW aged care provider is trialling the use of a robot to transport meals, linen, waste and pharmaceutical goods.

The RoboCart named Wendy is being used at Albion Park Rail Residential Care Home near Wollongong.

Aged care provider Warrigal said it was exploring ways to relieve staff from repetitive processes such as pushing heavy trolleys, instead giving them more face-to-face time with residents.

Strategic innovation and development executive leader Leanne Taylor said the trial was working well.

PHOTO: Wendy helps with the heavy lifting at Albion Park Rail Residential Care Home. (Supplied: Warrigal)

 

"We've got the robot programmed so it knows its way from the kitchen to the various dining room areas, and the staff are then able to use an iPad to be able to dictate where the loads are to be taken to," Ms Taylor said.

"The robot is able to transport anything that is bulky and heavy, so other examples are linen and other forms of products, and things like incontinence pads that often staff have to be able to move from the warehouse on site to the recipients of the product."

Robots will not replace staff

Manufactured by Lamson, the robots are being used in health and aged care at sites in other states and for moving books in the basement of Canberra's National Library.

Ms Taylor insists robots will not result in a reduction in staffing numbers.

"I know a number of people have thought, oh, is this going to replace staff, is this a dangerous thing, what if it is charging down corridors or bumping into people or walls?" she said.

"It has kind of like electronic whiskers that come out from the machine so they are able to sense where there are objects and people moving around.

"Freeing staff up will enable the staff to have more interaction where it counts, which is enabling our customers to have the best lives possible."

 

Read more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-07/nursing-home-robot-trial-wollongong/8426442

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