Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care: reflections from a cluster-RCT.
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We undertook a cluster-randomised controlled trial exploring the effect of a therapeutic companion robot (PARO) compared to a look-alike plush toy and usual care on dementia symptoms of long-term care residents. Complementing the reported quantitative outcomes , this paper provides critical reflection and commentary on individual participant responses to PARO, observed through video recordings , with a view to informing clinical practice and research. A descriptive, qualitative design with five participants selected from the PARO intervention arm of the trial. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12614000508673). The five participants and their responses to PARO are presented in terms of three issues: i.) Different pre-intervention clinical presentations and different responses; ii.) Same individual, different response - the need for continual assessment and review; and iii.) The ethics of giving and retrieving PARO. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed in relation to each issue. The findings suggest that one approach does not fit all, and that there is considerable variation in responses to PARO. A number of recommendations are discussed to aid the delivery of psychosocial interventions with PARO in practice, as well as to guide future research.
- Public Health [70 items ]