Conventional wisdom points to a shortage of nurses in healthcare. The number of elderly is climbing and so is the number of retiring nurses. The Wall Street Journal this morning reported that one percent of chronically ill patients consume 22% of healthcare expenditures. Elderly patients get shuffled back and forth to multiple providers resulting in a poor quality of life for them and their families. Various forms of telemonitoring show promise to provide more of the care the patients’ home or residence, potentially reducing the demand for nurses. There is an additional trend that could have a positive impact on the problem — assisted living robots. The European Union has 15 trials underway in Sweden, Italy, and Spain of the Giraff Plus, a robot that can assist with monitoring and interacting with chronically ill patients. The robot has sensors that record weight, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation of the blood, and key activity indicators such as a refrigerator door that has been open for a protracted time. The robot has video capabilities that enable care providers to see and converse with the patient, providing them advice and answering questions. The developers of the Giraff Plus project are hopeful that the technology will result in fewer hospital admissions and readmissions. Have a look at a video showing the Giraff Plus in action.
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