The UBTECH Alpha 1E is a social robot with servo motor technology that allows for fluid and precise humanoid movement. In Ren Ci, this robot (named ‘Robo’) has been re-adapted to serve as an exercise instructor for seniors. It is programmed to lead 3 types of group exercises (e.g. tai chi, seated dance etc), consists of 23 individual exercises. Ren Ci is amongst the first in the local community care sector to adopt a humanoid robot for group therapy.
Robo has been adopted across Ren Ci’s Senior Care Centres, Nursing Homes and Community Hospital. Group therapy exercises happen on a routine basis, with two or three Therapy Aides (TA) required per session. With the adoption of Robo, there is manpower savings of at least one TA per session. This translates to a total man-hour savings of 256 hours per month. Robo has also enabled manpower optimisation, where staff can be redeployed to perform other value-added tasks such as assisting seniors with higher care needs. In addition, TAs partnering with Robo during group therapy can now focus more on seniors who may require a higher level of support to do the exercises.
Robo also serves as a novel way to engage seniors. Staff have reported that seniors who usually have difficulties following the exercises (e.g. those with dementia or short attention span) are now more engaged during the sessions. Seniors have also feedback that they find the Robo-led group therapy exercises fun and easy-to-follow.
Notably, Robo’s deployment today is opportunistic and necessary. COVID-19 has reduced the manpower in the wards as staff are to minimise crossing across different work zones. Robo, after thorough cleaning and disinfection, serve as a good replacement for staff to lead seniors in their therapy in multiple care areas. All in all, Robo has enhanced staff productivity and enabled staff to deliver better care and value to patients, residents and clients on their healing journeys.