The UK is currently facing a shortage of nurses and carers. According to statistics from January 2020, the NHS workforce gap could reach almost 250,000 by the year 2030. Research by The King's Fund reveals that around 1 in 11 care worker roles are currently unfilled. Could robots be the answer?
"Just as automation has begun to do jobs previously seen as uniquely suited for humans, like retrieving goods from warehouses, robots will assist your elderly relatives. As a robotics researcher, I believe artificial intelligence has the potential not only to care for our elders but to do so in a way that increases their independence and reduces their social isolation." -SmithsonianMag.com, 2017
Robots and AI in the UK
As recently as a decade ago, household robots sounded like the stuff of science fiction. However, artificial intelligence has become much more common in the last few years. Around 11% of UK households now own a smart speaker such as Amazon's Alexa. We now have self-driving robotic cars, virtual assistants, and robots that vacuum the floors and cut the grass. Robots work in warehouses, hotels, and factories already; it doesn't seem unrealistic to expect robots to help out with care in the home very soon.
Robot carers could improve care for elderly people both in hospital and at home. This could help elderly people stay in their own homes for longer without the need to go into full-time care and lose their independence.
Robot carers for elderly people could help with much more than household tasks. Experts predict that the robots of the future will offer social interaction and help elderly people who live alone to feel less lonely. Studies have already indicated that robots can help people with dementia to remember to take pills and eat meals.
"I believe robots will perform many elder-care tasks within a decade. Some activities will still require human caregivers, and there are people for whom robotic assistance will never be the answer. But you can bet that robots will help seniors age in place, even if they won’t look like butlers or pastry chefs."
Technology and Care
Of course, there are those who have their concerns. Many sceptics feat that robots could edge human caregivers out of the workforce and end up taking over their jobs. However, experts stress that this is far from likely. In one US care home trial, a robot wheeled itself around entertaining residents, freeing up human staff to assist residents with more complex tasks like administering medication.
With the UK's population ageing and the number of people requiring care increasing every year, robots could be part of the solution to the growing gap in the workforce.
Technology already plays a significant part in elderly care, both at home and in hospitals. The Careline Alarm service is an example of what the government calls Technology Enabled Care. To learn more about the Careline Alarm service and how it could help your elderly loved ones, click here or call our friendly team today.
Careline Alarm Service
The robot-sceptics among you will be happy to learn that the Careline Alarm service comes with 24-hour support from our expert (human) Care Team. Alarm users need only press their red pendant button to raise a call for help. A member of the Care Team will respond and assess the situation, arranging whatever help the user needs.
All our alarms are pre-programmed to make set-up as simple as possible. Just plug in the base unit and you'll be ready to go. With free next-working-day delivery on all alarms, you could have your alarm up and running within just 24 hours of ordering. To place an order, click here or call 0800 101 3333 today.
Note: We updated this article on 01/03/21 to include the latest information.
Originally published 31/08/17.