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Determinants of implementing pet robots in nursing homes for dementia care

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-23, 09:17 authored by Wei Qi Koh, ELAINE TOOMEYELAINE TOOMEY, Aisling FlynnAisling Flynn, Dympna Casey

Background: Pet robots have been employed as viable substitutes to pet therapy in nursing homes. Despite their  potential to enhance the psychosocial health of residents with dementia, there is a lack of studies that have investigated determinants of implementing pet robots in real-world practice. This study aims to explore the determinants of  implementing pet robots for dementia care in nursing homes, from the perspectives of healthcare professionals and  organisational leaders. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study, conceptualised and guided using the Consolidated Framework of Implementation Research (CFIR), was conducted. We conducted semi-structured interviews with healthcare professionals  and organisational leaders from nursing homes. Data was transcribed and analysed using Framework Analysis, based  on the CFIR as an a priori framework. Results: A total of 22 participants from eight nursing homes were included. Determinants were mapped to constructs from all fve CFIR domains. Determinants relating to the characteristics of pet robots include their design,  realisticness and interactivity, afordability, cleanability, perceived evidence strength and comparative advantages to live pets. Determinants relating to external infuences (outer setting) include national regulatory guidelines, funding  and networks with other organisations. With regards to characteristics of nursing homes (inner setting), determinants  include the relevance of pet robots in relation to the needs of residents with dementia, alignment with care processes, infection control mandates and their relative priority. In the domain characteristics of individuals, determinants  were associated with individuals beliefs on the role of technology, desires to enhance residents  quality of life, and  diferential attitudes on the use of robots. Finally, in the domain implementation process assessments and care planning were identifed as determinants. Conclusions: Overall, while sentiments around determinants within CFIR domains of pet robots characteristics, outer setting and implementation process were similar, participants opinions on the determinants within the ‘inner setting"  and characteristics of individuals’ were more varied. This could be due to diferent organisational structures, disciplinary diferences and personal experiences of using pet robots. Many determinants in diferent domains were interrelated. Findings provide a springboard for identifying and designing implementation strategies to guide the translation  of pet robots from research into real-world practice. 


Dementia: Intersectorial Strategy for Training and Innovation Network for Current Technology (DISTINCT)

European Commission

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BMC Geriatrics 22, 457



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  • Allied Health

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