Modernizing Caregiving: How a Robotic Emotional Support Animal Can Help Caregivers

Modernizing Caregiving

A wealth of evidence supports the health benefits of keeping pets: increased life span, exercise, improved mental health, and a sense of purpose. But for older adults and those with disabilities, the responsibilities and expense of owning an animal can be overwhelming, and caregivers are often forced to take on those burdens themselves. To make matters worse, dementia patients can pose a physical threat to live animals.

What alternate solutions exist for those who cannot safely or practically keep a live pet? Fortunately, information technology and robotics have advanced to the point that realistic, robotic emotional support pets are becoming a legitimate option. As research in this area advances, experts have found that robotic emotional support animals can offer a myriad of benefits similar to those associated with live pets. Robotic companions can also help caregivers.

Robotic Emotional Support Animals in Practice

Imagine the following scenario: An elderly woman with dementia suffering from Sundowner’s Syndrome relies on a strict daily regimen established by her caregiver. This routine is a delicate dance, balancing the patient’s meals, medication, and personal care, all designed to keep her as relaxed as possible.

One afternoon, as the caregiver prepares dinner, the caregiver realizes that the patient’s beloved dog is nowhere to be found. She runs outside to look for the dog, leaving the patient to fend for herself. The patient is agitated over her missing dog and suddenly alone in a kitchen with pots and pans boiling.

Fortunately, the caregiver finds the dog outside, but the patient is now too overwhelmed to eat or take her medication. Despite the caregiver’s best efforts at redirection, it’s a rough evening for everyone.

How a Robotic Emotional Support Animal Can Ease the Role as Caregiver

As any experienced caregiver knows, consistent emotional support for patients is critical. A robotic emotional support animal can significantly ease a caregiver’s role in this respect. Robotic companions replicate many benefits traditional pets provide – affection, responsiveness, and companionship – without the associated caregiving demands, such as feeding walking, or veterinarian visits.

The Benefits of Robotic Emotional Support Animals

The owners of pets are known to enjoy

  • Reduced impact of depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Longer survival rates after a heart attack
  • 30% fewer doctor visits after age 65
  • Longer life spans

Robotic companion animals provide genuine comfort, mirroring the emotional connection that living pets provide while lightening the caregiver load. Uplifting conversations about the robot companion elevate the moods of both patient and caregiver, potentially reducing feelings of burnout. In embracing such technology, senior care and assisted living facilities can foster an environment that makes staff and residents all smile a little more.

Spotlight

St Joseph's Hospital Health Center

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center Center provides a variety of comprehensive inpatient, outpatient and same day services. The medical center also offers a broad range of community programs, ranging from health fairs and screenings to seminars and support groups.

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Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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