Infection prevention and control challenges of using a therapeutic robot
Evidence & Practice    

Infection prevention and control challenges of using a therapeutic robot

Penny Dodds Professional and practice development facilitator, Dementia UK
Katharine Martyn Principal lecturer, University of Brighton, Sussex, England
Mary Brown Part-time lecturer/practitioner, University of Brighton, Sussex, England

This work was part of a National Institute for Health Research participatory action research and practice development study, which focused on the use of a therapeutic, robotic baby seal (PARO, for personal assistive robot) in everyday practice in a single-site dementia unit in Sussex. From the beginning of January 2017 until the end of September 2017, the cleaning and cleanliness of PARO was monitored through a service audit process that focused on the cleaning, amount of use and testing of contamination of PARO being used in everyday clinical practice with individuals and in group sessions. Its use and cleaning followed protocols developed by the study team, which incorporated hand hygiene and standard precaution policies. Its cleanliness was determined using an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) luminometer, with a benchmark of 50 relative light units (RLU). A reading of ATP below 50RLU is the level of cleanliness recommended for social areas in hospital settings.

Throughout the study period, monitoring showed that all swab zones on PARO were within the benchmark of the 50RLU threshold for cleanliness.

PARO has an emerging evidence base as a useful therapeutic device. However, introducing such devices into clinical practice may encounter barriers or concerns from an infection prevention and control (IPC) perspective. This study of PARO in clinical practice aims to address the IPC concerns raised and offers cleaning and testing protocols and results.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2018.e994

Correspondence

k.j.martyn@brighton.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the staff, people with dementia and relatives who participated, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Lived Experience Advisory Forum for Dementia and Heads On charity, which funded the second PARO for the ward

Received: 07 September 2017

Accepted: 13 February 2018

Published online: 20 March 2018