Connecting the person with dementia and family : a feasibility study of a telepresence robot

Moyle, Wendy, Jones, Cindy, Cooke, Marie, O’Dwyer, Siobhan, Sung, Billy, & Drummond, Suzie (2014) Connecting the person with dementia and family : a feasibility study of a telepresence robot. BMC Geriatrics, 14(7).

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Maintenance of communication is important for people with dementia living in long-term care. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of using “Giraff”, a telepresence robot to enhance engagement between family and a person with dementia living in long-term care.


A mixed-methods approach involving semi-structured interviews, call records and video observational data was used. Five people with dementia and their family member participated in a discussion via the Giraff robot for a minimum of six times over a six-week period. A feasibility framework was used to assess feasibility and included video analysis of emotional response and engagement.


Twenty-six calls with an average duration of 23 mins took place. Residents showed a general state of positive emotions across the calls with a high level of engagement and a minimal level of negative emotions. Participants enjoyed the experience and families reported that the Giraff robot offered the opportunity to reduce social isolation. A number of software and hardware challenges were encountered.


Participants perceived this novel approach to engage families and people with dementia as a feasible option. Participants were observed and also reported to enjoy the experience. The technical challenges identified have been improved in a newer version of the robot. Future research should include a feasibility trial of longer duration, with a larger sample and a cost analysis.

Impact and interest:

6 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 77771
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Dementia, Technology, Long-term care , Family, Telepresence robots, Communication
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2318-14-7
ISSN: 1471-2318
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Nursing not elsewhere classified (111099)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Moyle et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 19 Oct 2014 22:55
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2014 21:14

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