As the baby boomer generation gets up in years, health care assistants are and will continue to be in high demand. In fact, the health care field will need more trained assistants than the population will be able to provide. In most of the world, people over 65 are the fastest growing age group. Unfortunately, the growth of the eldercare workforce is not able to keep up. It is estimated that by 2030, the United States will need 150,000 paid eldercare givers. In steps the medical robot assistant to the rescue. Artificial intelligence is predicted to be the answer.
Robots are currently used by doctors to assist them during surgeries. With their assistants, doctors are able to perform complex procedures using more precision, flexibility and control. By using robots, surgeries are performed through tiny incisions which allow the patient to heal faster.
Today, if you happen to be in a hospital, you might see a robot traveling down the hallway delivering supplies, medications, lab samples, soiled linen bags, and meal to patients or staff members. In the near future medical robots might be used to take a patient’s pulse and scan their vital signs, thus freeing the medical staff for other necessary tasks robots cannot handle. Keeping track of patient’s recovery performance after surgery could be done by a robot. They could handle many tasks currently provided by day care givers in homes by reminding patients to take their medication and coaching them on how to deal with chronic illness.
Robots can be used in hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and doctor’s offices to keep them free from germs. They can move from room to room after a patient is discharged and using high-powered UV rays for several minutes, kill any microorganisms left in the room before the next patient arrives. This would ensure cleanliness and the assurance that a room was not overlooked or received a minimal cleaning due to time constraints.
As the population gets older, there is a need for companionship and intelligent robots could be the answer to this universal concern also. We already see this being done using Alexa, Siri, and other artificial intelligence devices. A lonely person can carry on a conversation for hours asking question after question and having a human voice respond back. They can be used in retirement homes to entertain the residents by telling stories, jokes, and singing songs. A smiling robot will bring a smile to all who see it. When a robot laughs, others will laugh too. This brightens spirits and helps people heal faster. Touch is important and robots can provide that also. They can gently squeeze a person’s hand or hold it for hours giving the resident a feeling that they are important.
The younger generations will be responsible for providing their elders with good care. By spending time now developing robots that can handle routine services that need to be provided in the future for the elders, those who decide on a career in the healthcare field, can spend their time handling the more complex tasks.
TIME.com, December 2-9, 2019
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