Background: Social robots, with Paro being an example, offer new opportunities for innovative approaches in dementia care.
Objectives: To investigate how interventions, with the socially assistive robot Paro, can be implemented in daily care practice.
Design: Paro was used according to individualized interventions, aiming at predefined specific care problems, during a 3-week period. Selected residents were offered Paro once or twice a week.
Setting: Small scale care units (8-10 residents each) in three Dutch care institutions for intramural psychogeriatric care.
Participants: A total of 23 dementia patients, 22 female and 1 male, participated.
Intervention: Three intervention types were applied, one for therapeutic purposes, one for facilitating daily care activities and one to support social visits.
Measurements: The experience of care staff, informal caregivers and patients with Paro were registered qualitatively by means of a registration form in which each occasion of Paro use was briefly reported. Additionally, care staff was interviewed using a semi-structured qualitative questionnaire.
Results: The 23 residents were involved in 36 individually defined interventions, and in total 71 sessions were carried out. In the majority of cases, care staff and patients considered the Paro interventions to be of added value for the care provided.
Conclusion: The use of Paro can be well individualized to the needs of patients, the resulting individual Paro intervention can be well implemented in day to day care, and Paro may have added value when used in a well-directed way.