Introducing Social Robots in Swedish Dementia Care: Exploring the Interaction between Care Workers, Residents, and Robotic Cats.
Marcus Persson

Social robots are discussed as a solution to new societal challenges connected to the ageing population and increasingly demanding care apparatus. Previous research about social robots in health care has been criticized for being either technophobic or technophilic: overly optimistic concerning the possibility of new technology, or pessimistic about the risk that robotization of care will entail a dehumanization of patients. Contributing with a social perspective to the research about the use of social robots in care settings, the article explores the interaction between care workers, residents, and robotic cats in dementia care facilities. The research design consists of a mixed-methods approach: Qualitative interviews with care workers and quantitative observations of residents’ response to the robot. The findings from the interviews and observations indicate a connection between the performative role of the care workers and the response of the residents when using the robotic cat. From the perspective of symbolic interactionism, the findings are discussed in relation to meaning- making practices of care workers and how they construct the interaction with the residents in new ways, using the social robot as either tools or substitutes for interpersonal contact.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jssw.v8n1a1