With a decreasing workforce of care professionals and to support an active and positive working life of informal carers, there is a need for assistive technologies at home. Not only to support the seniors in need of care, but also to support the caregivers. The GUARDIAN project introduces a social companion, which aims to be of direct benefit for three groups of end-users. (1) The GUARDIAN social robot will be the ‘eyes, ears and communication channel’ for homecare nurses. They can use the robot to support individual frail clients that also need attention when they are not there.
Homecare nurses spend much of their time on time-consuming routine tasks/check-ups – GUARDIAN enhances work pleasure and reduces stress and workload. (2) Informal caregivers need their work and want to support their loved ones. They experience high levels of stress and mental and physical fatigue as they worry about them and have difficulties finding a work-life balance due to the additional care tasks. GUARDIAN provides a helping hand. (3) Frail seniors prefer to live in their own house for as long as possible. Informal caregivers and homecare nurses cannot be present 24/7.
With GUARDIAN, the seniors have a companion that can take over tasks from caregivers, and supports them in prolonged independent living. The GUARDIAN project follows from the start a unique iterative design, research and development methodology with 3 streams, focusing on: 1. Co-creation & Personalization 2. Ethical and value-sensitive design 3. Business Modeling & Cost-effectiveness.
The coherence between the objectives and outcomes of these streams is considered to be unique within an AAL project and essential for success, since technological innovation cannot be viewed separately from local contexts-of-use, revenue models, ethics and regulations; these develop together. Responsible innovation in social care robotics starts with the inclusion of trans-parent values at the stage of design, acknowledging and balancing the various societal and commercial interests from the very onset. To this end, GUARDIAN will involve all three user groups (frail seniors, informal caregivers and professional nurses) and the buyer groups (employers, including care organizations) throughout the entire project.
Vilans (coordinator) and Zorggroep Noordwest-Veluwe (both: end-users), ConnectedCare and smartrobot.solutions (SMEs), Eindhoven University of Technology (all five from the Netherlands), JEF (SME), Università Politecnica delle Marche and INCRA (end-user) (all three from Italy), Hospital University of Geneva (end-user) and University of Geneva (both from Switzerland).
Project website (TBP)