Strategies to implement pet robots in long-term care facilities for dementia care: A modified Delphi study

Koh, Wei Qi
Hoel, Viktoria
Casey, Dympna
Toomey, Elaine
Koh, Wei Qi, Hoel, Viktoria, Casey, Dympna, & Toomey, Elaine. (2023). Strategies to Implement Pet Robots in Long-Term Care Facilities for Dementia Care: A Modified Delphi Study. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 24(1), 90-99. doi:
Objectives Pet robots are technology-based substitutes for live animals that have demonstrated psychosocial benefits for people living with dementia in long-term care. However, little research has been conducted to understand how pet robots should be implemented in routine care. This study aims to identify, contextualize, and achieve expert consensus on strategies to implement pet robots as part of dementia care in long-term care facilities. Design A 2-round modified Delphi study. Settings and Participants An international panel of 56 experts from 14 countries, involving care professionals, organizational leaders, and researchers. Methods A list of potentially relevant strategies was identified, contextualized, and revised using empirical data and through stakeholder consultations. These strategies constituted statements for Round 1. Experts rated the relative importance of each statement on a 9-point scale, and free-text fields allowed them to provide justifications. Consensus was predefined as ≥75% agreement. Statements not reaching an agreement were brought forward to Round 2. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and textual data were analyzed using inductive content analysis. Results Thirteen strategies reached consensus; 11 were established as critical: (1) assess readiness and identify barriers and facilitators, (2) purposely reexamine the implementation, (3) obtain and use residents' and their family's feedback, (4) involve residents and their family, (5) promote adaptability, (6) conduct ongoing training, (7) conduct educational meetings, (8) conduct local consensus discussions, (9) organize clinician implementation team meetings, (10) provide local technical assistance, and (11) access new funding. Other strategies received differing extents of agreement. Reasons for variations included contextual differences, such as resource availability, organizational structures, and staff turnover. Conclusions and Implications This study identified the most relevant strategies that can be used by technology developers, care providers, and researchers to implement pet robots in long-term care facilities for dementia care. Further development, specification, and testing in real-world settings are needed.
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