Japanese Robot Cares for Fall Victims

Old Lady in Frame

With so many nursing home residents requiring personalized care and attention and so few nursing staff to provide all the necessary care, many in the nursing home and long-term care communities are looking for reliable solutions that can help fill the gap.

One specific problem centers around limited mobility residents, or residents who recently suffered injuries after an accidental fall, like a broken hip or fractured hip bone. For these residents, one of the most taxing activities that occur at nursing homes is the physical transfer of the limited mobility resident from his or her bed to a walking assistive device, such as a wheelchair. Usually, a nursing home staff member must pick the resident up and physically move them, which can be exhausting if done many times a day for many different residents. Transfers of this type can occur many times a day: every time the resident needs to use the restroom wants to attend a meal or wants to leave his or her bed.

This is not just a problem faced by nursing homes in the United States; nursing homes around the world deal with this same scenario day in and day out. However, the Japanese have been working on a robot designed to automate the physically strenuous activity of transferring a resident from a bed to a wheelchair, and back again.

Introducing Japan’s RIBA-II Robot

The RIBA-II (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance), deemed to be the next generation in care-providing robot technology, utilizes an array of high-precision tactile sensors and motor controls to provide care and mobility for the disabled and for the elderly having limited mobility. The RIBA-II is the brainchild of Riken and Tokai Rubber Industries. The press release for the RIBA-II can be found here.

Responsive to voice commands, the robot is extremely helpful when conducting routine mobilization activities that an elderly person needs to do multiple times a day. For example, the robot is capable of transferring an 80kg (approximately 175lbs) person from a wheelchair to a bed and vice versa, which is one of the most frequently performed activities during the day at nursing home facilities in Japan. While the robot is largely limited to performing lifting and transferring tasks, this is one of the most strenuous activities that have to occur daily for many nursing home residents.

By automating the process of lifting a limited-mobility individual from a bed to a walking assistive device, the RIBA-II is actually able to restore a sense of independence in some residents, since they do not need to rely on staff to get out of bed each time they need to use the restroom or would like to leave the bed. Furthermore, the RIBA-II relieves some of the care burdens from the nursing home staff, which can be good in nursing care facilities where there are too few staffers to see to all of the needs of residents.

Contact an Accidental Fall Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a nursing home by an accidental trip or fall, please reach out to an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to discuss the particulars surrounding your specific situation. Contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Rooth Law Firm online or by phone at (800) 598-4348 for a free consultation.

Photo Credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via Compfight cc


Sources:

Sy Kraft, Japan Develops Robot for Slip and Fall Instance Among Elderly, Medical News Today, August 2, 2011

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