Online Program

Application of socially assistive robots in mental health services for older adults

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sangguk Kang, MS, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Jennifer Piatt, PhD, CTRS, School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
With approximately 16% of the older population diagnosed with clinical depressive symptoms, community mental health services play a significant role providing public health initiatives for this population. Often, older adults live alone within rural areas of the United States with minimal access to these services. This can increase symptoms associated with depression (i.e. self-isolation, loneliness, hopelessness). Recent years have seen the proliferation of socially assistive robots (SARs) for the purposes of improving the functioning and quality-of-life (QOL) of people who experience chronic and age-related health issues.  Many SARs-related studies occur in either laboratory or institutionalized care settings (e.g. nursing homes) and focus on treatment and rehabilitation.  However, “health” is not something that happens once someone gets sick or diagnosed; it is the result of an accumulating cascade of daily choices and environmental factors.  Impacting health in daily life – prior to the development of illness or the need for institutionalized care (i.e. preventative healthcare) –represents a novel opportunity for exploring applications of assistive robotics, and brings up the need to understand how robots may fit into peoples’ everyday lives and within the growing focus on patient-centered care. This presentation will introduce an ongoing research project using socially assistive robots (SARs) for older adults diagnosed with clinical depression and co-occurring physical illness. The research examined SARs as a form of preventive patient-centered healthcare. Information on how SARs can be of particular benefits as a public health initiative, and results from the participatory design study with older adults will be presented.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how socially assistive robots can be utilized in community mental health services. Identify three clinical outcomes associated with socially assistive robots and the older adult with depression.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Health, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered