New robots to begin work in Minnesota nursing care centers

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

"This is like the first time in the United States using humanoid robots to provide care for the elderly," said Dr. Arshia Khan, professor at Swenson College of Science and Engineering at UMD.

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

"Robots can go talk with them, chat with them engage with them, and help in so many different ways," Khan said. “We are going to tackle caregiving, we are going to be augmenting care, we are not replacing caregivers in any way."

Eight Monarch Healthcare Management will partner with UMD to have the robots in their facilities in January.

“We have to keep being innovative and thinking of what we can do to make our residents smile," said Marc Halpert, Chief Operating Officer, Monarch Healthcare.

"They can recognize the faces, they will connect name to face, and they will remember that, then every time they see the person, they will say ‘Hello John, how’s your day going?’” Khan said.

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

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