Social Robots Can Provide Pain Relief For Some Patients with Dementia

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Lihui (Sara) Pu RN, PhD Candidate
School of Nursing and Midwifery & Menzies Health Institute Queensland  
Griffith University
Queensland, Australia

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: With the development of technologies, there is a growing body of research on social robots aiming to meet the care needs of people with dementia. The use of a robotic seal PARO has been shown to improve mood and acute pain for people with dementia. However, little attention has been paid to the effect of PARO on people with dementia and chronic pain.

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We interviewed 11 people with mild to moderate dementia who interacted with the PARO for 30 minutes, five days a week over a six-week period. They expressed positive attitudes towards the use of PARO and acknowledged the therapeutic benefits of PARO on mood improvement and relaxation for pain relief but also mentioned the limitations of its weight, voice, and characteristics. Besides, there is considerable variations in participant responses to the use of PARO and the use of PARO should be tailored to individual preferences as there is no single suitable approach.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The PARO intervention is a promising nonpharmacological approach to improve positive emotion and there is some anecdotal evidence that pain may be decreased from the perspectives of people living with chronic pain and dementia. Long-term care staff may incorporate PARO therapy into daily dementia care with the understanding of individual preferences.

PainRelief.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The use of social robots to support dementia care is promising, but more research is needed to hear the voices and perspectives of people with dementia.

 I have no disclosures.

Citation:

Pu, L. , Moyle, W. and Jones, C. (2019), How people with dementia perceive a therapeutic robot called PARO in relation to their pain and mood: A qualitative study. J Clin Nurs. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jocn.15104

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