They already are. Tugs the robot, made by Pittsburgh-based Aethon, is utilized in hospitals across the nation for transport of medications, linens, and lab specimens according to Nurse.org.
Nursing homes have gone a step further in Japan. Facilities in the country are trying out robots to help with a severe nursing shortage. There are currently approximately twenty types of robots intended for various purposes in the country.
One type, named Paro, can engage in simple conversation and provide affection to the elderly. While there is a valid argument that some of the robot use may be going too far in trying to replace vital human interaction, there are residents who have still grown to appreciate them. In a video by TRT World, one nursing home resident said, “I can talk to them without being careful about what I say."
Still, there are other robots that may aide residents in maintaining their independence and mobility, and the debate on those is much more positive. Bear is a robot nurse who can turn patients in their bed, carry them from place to place, and more. Lifting robots like Bear can assist nurses in moving or lifting patients without physical strain. These robots can help residents to stand and may seem less intimidating than a lifting machine.
Those are not the only nursing robots that we may see coming to America in the future.
Robot Pepper takes a much more official role. This mechanical wonder can book appointments, help with triage, interpret vital signs, and offer basic health information to patients. They can assist nurses and make their workload lighter. Robot Dinsow is another big helper for nurses. He engages residents in exercise, reminds them to take medication, helps with self-care, and works on lifting moods.
While some may argue that these robots should never replace the care of a nurse, others may point out that, if used properly, the robots can act as tools for nurses to provide better care, rather than as a substitute for the nurses. One thing is for sure; technology is becoming a significant part of every stage of our lives.
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