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Exploring perceptions toward home-care robots for older people in Finland, Ireland, and Japan: A comparative questionnaire study

NK Perceptions project NK SD and colleagues photos

Principal Investigator:

Assoc. Prof. Nao Kodate, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, Dublin, Ireland

Other Investigators:

Sayuri Suwa, Division of Visiting Nursing, Graduate School of Nursing, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Mayuko Tsujimura, Division of Visiting Nursing, Graduate School of Nursing, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Sarah, Donnelly, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Helli Kitinoja, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland

Jaakko Hallila, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland

Marika Toivonen, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland

Hiroo Ide, Institute for Future Initiatives, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Mina Ishimaru, Division of Community Health Nursing, Graduate School of Nursing, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Atsuko Shimamura, Division of Community Health Nursing, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Science, Toho University, Chiba, Japan

Wenwei Yu, Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Project outline

Social ageing is expected to rapidly progress globally in the next 50 years with a significant increase in the number of older people who require health and social care, including older people with dementia. Given this background and in line with the goals of Ageing in Place (https://ageinginplace.ie/) there have been growing expectations for the development and social implementation of assistive technologies such as home-care robots.

While some research has been conducted into perceptions toward home-care robots for older people and researchers have developed various models regarding the acceptance of new technologies, important questions regarding current perceptions need to be addressed. In addition, as the models that have been developed thus far have used data collected mostly in a single jurisdiction, the exploration of perceptions in comparative context represents an important gap in our understanding.

Research Aims

Led by Assoc. Prof. Nao Kodate, this project aims to shed lights on this question by conducting a survey of potential users’ perceptions toward the development and social implementation of home-care robots in Japan, Ireland and Finland. Although the pace of ageing and prevalence of dementia vary, these three countries are all facing an ageing population and have nationwide dementia strategies. People in Finland and Ireland seem to be fairly positive (compared to the EU average) toward robots but the two countries are in sharp contrast with regard to welfare policies, with Finland supporting universalism and Ireland having been heavily reliant on the voluntary sector. In terms of the countries’ images around technologies, Japan is at the forefront of technology-assisted social care, whereas Finland is known for ICT education and Ireland is known for hosting major multinational ICT corporations. Therefore, it is predicted that these similarities and differences are likely to create different sets of expectations and demands for home-care robots

Methods

This study used a cross-sectional survey design. The study was conducted in one Japanese prefecture, the whole of Ireland, and two region (including three cities and one island) in Finland. The sampling methods used in the three countries are described in Suwa et al (2020, 4)

Selected Findings

  • In Japan, many people are already familiar with robots in their daily lives and the most notable finding about their perspectives on home-care robots are related to safety.
  • In Finland, many people have a negative impression of robots compared to the other two countries.
  • The vast majority (93.7 %) of the Japanese respondents agree with the statement: “If the user cannot decide whether to use a home-care robot, family members who know the user well should decide”. This compares with 76.4 % in Ireland and 83.1 % in Finland.
  • In Ireland, over four in every five (81.8 %) of the respondents say, “I want to help other people and society by participating in the research and development of home-care robots”. This compares with 69.9 % in Japan and 67.5 % in Finland.

Main Conclusion

The development of strategies for the development and social implementation of home-care robots necessitates incorporating various perspectives while also valuing each country’s characteristics with respect to history, culture, policies and values.

Publications

JOURNAL ARTICLE Suwa S, TsujimuraM, Kodate N, Donnelly S, Kitinoja H, Hallila J, Toivonen M, Ide H, Bergman-Kärpijoki C, Takahashi E, Ishimaru M, Shimamura A, Yu W (2020) Exploring perceptions towards home-care robots for older people in Finland, Ireland, and Japan: a comparative questionnaire study. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 91:104178

JOURNAL ARTICLE Kodate N, Donnelly S, Suwa S, Tsujimura M, Kitinoja H, Hallila J, Toivonen M, Ide H, Yu W (2021) Home-care robots – Attitudes and perceptions among older people, carers and care professionals in Ireland: A questionnaire study. Health and Social Care in the Community. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hsc.13327

JOURNAL ARTICLE Ide, H., Kodate, N., Suwa, S., Tsujimura, M., Shimamura, A., Ishimaru, M., & Yu, W. (2021). The Ageing ‘Care Crisis’ in Japan: Is there a role for robotics-based solutions? International Journal of Care and Caring, 5: 165-171.

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