The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare they have no competing interests.
WM conceived of the study and CJ, MC, SOD and BS were involved in the design. SD and BS undertook acquisition of data and CJ, BS, SD and WM undertook analysis and interpretation of data. WM drafted this version of the manuscript and all authors were involved in revision of the manuscript. All authors read and gave final approval for this version of the manuscript to be published and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.
Maintenance of communication is important for people with dementia living in long-term care. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of using “Giraff”, a telepresence robot to enhance engagement between family and a person with dementia living in long-term care.
A mixed-methods approach involving semi-structured interviews, call records and video observational data was used. Five people with dementia and their family member participated in a discussion via the Giraff robot for a minimum of six times over a six-week period. A feasibility framework was used to assess feasibility and included video analysis of emotional response and engagement.
Twenty-six calls with an average duration of 23 mins took place. Residents showed a general state of positive emotions across the calls with a high level of engagement and a minimal level of negative emotions. Participants enjoyed the experience and families reported that the Giraff robot offered the opportunity to reduce social isolation. A number of software and hardware challenges were encountered.
Participants perceived this novel approach to engage families and people with dementia as a feasible option. Participants were observed and also reported to enjoy the experience. The technical challenges identified have been improved in a newer version of the robot. Future research should include a feasibility trial of longer duration, with a larger sample and a cost analysis.
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