Steve Carefull, Social Care Technology lead at PA Consulting, discusses the report on Robotics in Care developed by PA’s Robotics in Care Community of Interest (RICCOI), a forum for adult social care leaders to share their experiences of using robotic technology in social care delivery and explore further opportunities.
According to the report, Robotics in Care: A Moment of Opportunity, a key way of addressing the situation may be the deployment of robotic solutions. The research suggests that the coronavirus pandemic raised the prominence of technology in care, as many organisations looked to do more with less across a range of different lines of work. For example, collaborative robots ( or ‘cobots’) – have been piloted to support protect carers as they deliver physical care, and lift or move care receivers.
The report suggests that carers in Hampshire involved in the cobot trial are reporting a significant reduction in fatigue and strain on their bodies when they provide physical support to service users. Meanwhile, the white paper contends that there are indications that care for a person with complex needs, which may previously have required two carers working together, can in some instances be delivered by a single individual using a cobot and other specialist equipment. While the pilot is still exploring legislative, regulatory and procurement factors relating to the technology, the trial seems to support the use of technology to help carers cope with their increasing workload.
Steve said: “Now is the moment for care leaders to act. The coronavirus pandemic raised the prominence of care workers as they placed themselves and their families at risk to support society’s most vulnerable. The pandemic also accelerated technology adoption, with innovative approaches being implemented much more rapidly than before.”
He continued: “Our collaboration with leaders in adult social services has shown the potential for robotic technologies to transform care. Working together, we can choose to create a future where robotics unlocks new opportunities and efficiencies… and where we create a positive human future in a technology-driven world.”