Deploying Robot-Led Activities for People With Dementia at Aged Care Facilities: A Feasibility Study

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Wu, Dongjun
Pu, Lihui
Jo, Jun
Hexel, Rene
Moyle, Wendy
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Objectives To explore the feasibility of deploying robot-led activities for people with dementia living in aged care facilities. Design Embedded mixed-methods design. Setting and Participants Eleven residents (≥65 years) with mild to moderate cognitive impairment were recruited from 2 aged care facilities in Brisbane, Australia. Methods We implemented a novel control logic, “Adam Program,” for a human-like robot to provide proactive robot activities for people with dementia. Participants individually participated in a nonfacilitated robot intervention thrice a week for 5 weeks from November to December 2022. We video-recorded each intervention session and quantified participants’ visual, behavioral, and verbal engagement. A semi-structured interview was conducted at the end of the 5-week intervention. The treatment fidelity strategies and finances were reported and evaluated. The Bowen feasibility framework guided data analysis into 6 focus areas: acceptability, demand, implementation, efficacy, integration, and practicality. Results Based on participants’ perceptions, findings demonstrated adequate acceptability and demand for robot-led activities. Findings reported a high level of visual engagement (98.54%) and an increased trend of behavior engagement over 5 weeks. Participants independently communicated with Adam, with most (97.02%) verbal engagements free of human facilitation. The treatment fidelity strategies regarding the activity delivery, intervention received, and intervention skills are provided alongside the equipment expenses, revealing the feasibility of integrating robot-led activities for people with dementia in aged care facilities. Conclusions and Implications Using human-like robots to independently lead interactive activities for people with dementia at aged care facilities is feasible and acceptable. Although robot-led activities require further improvement, this study explored a practical-driven solution that provided guidelines for developing and implementing robot-led activities in aged care settings. Future studies could replicate similar robot-led activities for further investigation and evaluation. Strategies for multilevel determinants of Adam's implementation based on a context assessment are recommended for future research.

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Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

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© 2024. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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This publication has been entered in Griffith Research Online as an advance online version.

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Wu, D; Pu, L; Jo, J; Hexel, R; Moyle, W, Deploying Robot-Led Activities for People With Dementia at Aged Care Facilities: A Feasibility Study, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 2024, pp. 105028