Impacts of robot implementation on care personnel and clients in elderly-care institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research units

  • Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT


Background: Digital technologies, including robots, are being increasingly used in elderly care. Their impact on users carries implications for successfully integrating technological innovations into care. This study aims to identify the impacts of care-robot implementation on elderly-care service stakeholders. Methods: Impacts of care-robot implementation on users – care personnel and elderly clients – are identified from the data collected during a 10-week field study of the implementation process of the care robot ‘Zora’ in municipal elderly care services in Finland. The data were obtained from semi-participatory observation (27 sessions) of the robot engaging in rehabilitation efforts in two care homes and a geriatric rehabilitation hospital, and focus-group interviews conducted with 40 care workers and clients. Results: Robot use in elderly care is associated with multiple types of impacts with positive, negative, and neutral dimensions. These include impacts on interaction and activity for clients, and impacts on the work atmosphere, meaningfulness of work content, and professional development for care personnel. Impacts on personnel were related to the need for orientation, problems of time usage, and overall attitudes toward novelty and renewing of care service. The robot's presence stimulated the clients into exercising and interacting. The care workers perceived the clients’ well-being both as a motivation to learn how to use robots as well as a justification for negative views. Conclusions: Care-robots like Zora have the potential for multi-faceted rehabilitative functions and can become part of care service with careful systemic planning with a specific focus on orientation. Many of the identified impacts were related to how the robot fits into the service processes. Distinguishing between positive, negative, or neutral dimensions of different impacts is important.


Original languageEnglish
Article number104041
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Care robot, Elderly-care services, Finland, Human impact assessment, Implementation, ‘Zora’ robot

ID: 39714575