UMD Introduces Robots to Assist in Nursing Homes

The robotic handy helpers are expected to be delivered to Monarch's facilities by the end of the year.

DULUTH, Minn. — UMD’s robotics program is helping nursing homes in the area get the quality care they need while also helping facilities experiencing staffing shortages.

Monarch healthcare bought these robots to help staff in several of their local nursing homes.

They can help patients with daily physical and cognitive skills.

For those patients who may not be receiving regular visitors due to the pandemic, the robots can also provide emotional support.

“That social interaction has gone down. People are feeling depressed and lonely. The robots can offer that social interaction. They will come and tell jokes, they will interact, they will have small conversations, they will administer reminiscence therapy. These little guys will teach them how to do easy-going exercises,” UMD Computer Science Professor, Arshia Khan says.

The robots will go to eight monarch health facilities throughout the state including six facilities here in the northland.

Monarch says its main goal is for the robots to enhance the care of each of their residents.

“Right now it takes our nurses a few hours to do an admission to do an admission when they come into the building,” Monarch Healthcare Chief Operations Manager, Marc Halpert says.

“Your love one comes to our facility. It’s going to take them three to four hours. It’s rigorous for the staff it’s rigorous for the resident.”

“They just came from the hospital they just came from home. Nobody wants to sit there through a three-hour assessment. These robots can do that in 15 to 20 minutes. So a lot of opportunities to really trim down that process and to make it a more pleasant life for the residents.”

The robotic handy helpers are expected to be delivered to Monarch’s facilities by the end of the year and will get to work in early 2022.


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