Robots are the New Staff in Hong Kong Nursing Homes

By Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq

Staffing is usually a challenge in many nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In fact, much of the neglect in long-term care facilities can be traced to a lack of adequate staffing, either in numbers or training.

Now facilities in Hong Kong are using robot technology to help address the loss in staffing that arose during the Pandemic.  Robots are cleaning up, disinfecting rooms, and even playing games with the nursing home residents.

Conceivably, robots with video monitoring systems could even check on residents. We are a long way from having Robots sophisticated enough to provide actual care, explains nursing home abuse attorney Jeffrey J. Downey. However, once we get to that point, Robots could have a lot of advantages over human caregivers including the following:

  • Lower cost
  • No burn-out or employee dissatisfaction
  • Ability to work 24 hours
  • No loss of patience or display of hostility toward residents
  • No human distractions or personal issues interfere with job performance
  • Reduced risk of the spread of infection

Lim Long-hei is the founder and chief executive officer of Robocore the Hong Kong distributor of Israeli-made Temi Robots. As robots have become increasingly common in Hong Kong shopping centers, care homes have found them to be useful assistants for disinfecting the premises, recording residents’ temperatures, and connecting them with family members.

Lim’s company, set up in 2019, is one of the main suppliers of robots for homes. It sold about 500 robots in 2019 and 2020, and twice as many since last year, with the latest model priced at about 10,000 U.S. dollars. More homes for the elderly had begun buying robots since the Social Welfare Department extended its innovation and technology fund in September to include NGOs and private organizations that received subsidies.

The U.S. would be wise to follow Hong Kong’s lead in exploring the use of this technology now, so it can be adapted to the U.S. healthcare system, explains Downey.  Long-term care is the weak link in our healthcare system, and we need practical solutions to address the increasing need for such care, as the baby boomers enter our system in large numbers.

If you have questions about a nursing home or assisted living matter, call the Law Office of Jeffrey Downey for help.

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