New robots will start working in Minnesota nursing centers

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Robots created by researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth will soon begin working in nursing homes across the state.

“This is like the first time in the United States to use humanoid robots to provide care for the elderly,” said Dr. Arshia Khan, a professor at UMD’s Swenson College of Science and Engineering.

The robots come in various sizes and are programmed to help care center residents with their emotional, physical and cognitive health.

“Robots can go talk to them, chat with them, engage with them, and help them in so many different ways,” Khan said. “We’re going to tackle care delivery, we’re going to increase care, we’re not going to replace carers in any way.”

Eight Monarch Healthcare Management will partner with UMD to install the robots at its facilities in January.

“We need to continue to be innovative and think about what we can do to bring smiles to our residents,” said Marc Halpert, COO, Monarch Healthcare.

“They can recognize faces, they’ll connect the name to the face, and they’ll remember it, and then every time they see the person, they’ll say, ‘Hi John, how’s your day going?'” Khan said.

Monarch said staffing shortages in the industry could be alleviated with the help of robots in their facilities.

“I think the residents are going to have a little learning curve working with them,” Halpert said. “It’s something fun, it’s something different, Monach wanted to be different and change the way health care is delivered.”

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