In Geneva, we are currently Beta testing the Guardian system. The goal is to resolve the identified problems on the prototypes, in order to obtain a better fitting version.
The users are practicing the services daily for a 2 weeks trial. Caregivers from distance and seniors from home. Formal caregivers, for example family members, and informal caregivers, like nurses, can get connected to the senior via the guardian system. They can send requests via a website, and the robot Misty makes sure to say it out loud to the senior. To respond to the message, the senior uses the tablet device to let their caregivers know they heard the message. The whole system is meant to help communication between the 3 participants. There are 3 follow up moments to allow a better evaluation of the whole system.
To recruit, we asked many home nursing practices for senior they think would be in need for this device. We had few criteria to fulfil; the senior must be frail, in need of a nurse at least once a week, and having a caregiver other than a nurse. We tested our device with 8 elderly people, 8 formal caregivers and 8 informal caregivers.
First feedback of Guardian
As we install the robot, the first impression is usually about its appearance. Indeed, seniors find it cute and want to communicate immediately with it. Caregivers are also motivated and enthusiastic for the project. The main reason it is used for is reminding seniors to take their medication, to check if the frail senior is fine and to let personal messages. Seniors as well as caregivers see it as something in complement of home care and don’t feel threaten, nor replace by it. Most users have the impression it can be a great help for all participants.
Participants also proposed some ideas for features to be added to improve Guardian. In particular, the elderly person should be able to respond to messages from the carer with simple yes/no answers. Or adding more detail to responses when the elderly person indicates that they are not well, and being able to indicate the intensity of pain and its location easily.
For the month of December, we will complete these tests with a focus group made with 2 elderly people, 2 informal caregivers and 2 formal caregivers. We will introduce them to the robot, have them test the system and then we will ask them questions similar to the one asked for this test to get their opinion on Guardian and define how to improve it.