SANDRo Trial

Assistive Services to people in healthcare

Jun 13, 2024 — As the elderly population in Spain grows, so does the need for affective care. Caregivers and nurses play a crucial role in caring for our citizens, but the high workload and at times an understaffed care center can bring a lot of stress to the healthcare providers, as well as to the patients, who may consider the lack of personal attention.

In this context, PAL Robotics participated in a project called SANDRo, (Semi Autonomous Night and Day Robot) funded by DIH-Hero which aimed to deploy an innovative robot that provides assistive services to people with difficulties in Activities of Daily Living (ADL).

The project was carried out at the social and health care centre El Carme, located in Badalona, Spain. In this centre the staff dedicate a lot of time to certain daily tasks that prevent them from allocating more quality time to patient care. Among these tasks are conducting rounds in the rooms to ensure patients are well, responding when a patient presses the call button, or entertaining them with daily tasks, such as encouraging them to exercise.

El Carme is part of Badalona Serveis Assistencials (BSA), a municipal organisation that provides comprehensive health and care services to the population in certain areas of Barcelona.

The SANDRo solution is based on PAL Robotics’ TIAGo robot, with various integrations provided by project partners. TIAGo is a robot that combines perception, navigation, manipulation, and human-robot interaction skills. TIAGo is an omnidirectional mobile base with a lifting torso and a 7 DOF arm with a payload of a minimum 3kg. The design of the arm and torso and the implementation of a whole-body-controller software allow for flexible motions as well as reaching the floor to pick up fallen objects. Additional equipment can be easily mounted on the platform, such as grippers that will allow the robot to manipulate and tiny objects that request significant dexterity such as medicine cups, pills and credit cards.

In this regards, TIAGo is well-suited for applications in the healthcare and light industry sectors, specifically due to its manipulation capabilities and modular design.

TIAGo has been configured to respond to the specific needs of the staff at the Centre Sociosanitari El Carme hospital. The project focused on how TIAGo can help reduce the time nurses spend on certain daily tasks related to patient care. Specifically, the project addressed how to assist staff with 3 specific daily tasks using the TIAGo robot.

  • Efficient Patient Response: How TIAGo Improves Nurse Workflow
    Nurses can send TIAGo to patrol the hallway and check the status of the lights above the rooms. When a red light is detected, indicating a call button has been pressed, the nurse receives a notification. TIAGo acts as an initial responder, allowing nurses to prioritize and manage their time more effectively. They can quickly assess who needs assistance and respond accordingly, reducing stressful situations and ensuring prompt care.
  • Enhancing Patient Monitoring: How TIAGo Facilitates Nursing Rounds
    Another routine task for the nursing team is to make rounds to ensure all patients are well, even if they haven't asked for help.
    TIAGo assists nursing rounds by increasing visit frequency to patient rooms for consistent monitoring. If a closed door prevents entry, TIAGo notifies the nursing station. Upon entry, it scans the room, ensuring patient safety. If an issue is detected, TIAGo alerts the nursing station, enabling prompt assistance. This collaboration allows nurses to focus on critical tasks while ensuring patients receive more frequent and attentive care.
  • Interactive Patient Engagement: TIAGo Enhances Activity Sessions
    Another daily task performed by the centre's staff is to visit patients' rooms to engage in various activities with them, such as physical exercises. With the assistance of TIAGo, nurses now select a video on a tablet with an instructor demonstrating suitable physical exercises and send the robot to the patient's room to display it on a screen. This allows patients to follow along with the exercises while freeing up the nurses to attend to other important tasks.

The main benefits of this project, both for healthcare professionals and patients, are significant. For caregivers and nurses, the integration of the TIAGo robot offers a solution to the time constraints and multiple demands they face in providing care to the elderly. By automating routine tasks that nurses may not have the time to complete thoroughly, the TIAGo robot ensures these important activities are handled efficiently. This allows healthcare professionals to allocate more quality time to meaningful interactions with their patients, enhancing the overall quality of care.

For patients, the implementation of TIAGo brings several advantages. It increases their physical and mental well-being, providing support and entertainment in their daily lives, stimulating them with their tasks, and enhancing their social interaction. TIAGo serves as an emotional support, ultimately improving their quality of life.

At PAL Robotics, we're thrilled to have been part of this project because it lets us apply our innovative technologies to address significant challenges in healthcare. We conducted trials in several care centres and test facilities across Europe. Contributing to improving the quality of life for this population segment is a fundamental part of our mission, and this project gives us the opportunity to do so in collaboration with other partners and experts in the field, such as the Broca Living Lab (within Broca Hospital) in Paris, De Zorggroep, a healthcare provider in the Netherlands and HIT (Heemskerk Innovative Technology). We're excited to see how our technology can make a difference in elderly care and support the healthcare staff who attend to them.

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