Remedy Social Care | Meet Pepper – The Social Care Robot.
Alfie RankinSocial Care
Meet Pepper – The Social Care Robot.
Southend on Sea Council have purchased a humanoid robot to help their social care team.
This may sound outrageous at first but in fact, Pepper is already being used in Belgium to guide patients to the correct hospital departments.
Pepper is not even the first robot to be used within a social care setting, Paro the robot seal created in 2004 has been used by the N.H.S to help dementia patients.
However, what makes this particularly interesting is that it will be the first time a local authority has called upon Pepper’s services.
Costing a hefty £17,500 per unit it’s no surprise that Pepper is yet to be implemented countrywide. Asking Pepper how much he costs prompts the response that “money isn’t everything it’s all about love” but this is unlikely to sway his detractors.
Speaking about the sort of role Pepper will play Sharon Houlden director of adult social care at Southend said “I recognise that some staff will be concerned about the implications of a Pepper-like creature, we’re not advocating that he would take the place of any commissioned service we provide. Pepper will come in; he’ll be able to do things that will free us up to do more of the direct work – possibly in ways that we can’t even visualise yet.”
Pepper hasn’t garnered praise from everyone however, some have commented that the use of robotics would a sticking plaster in an underfunded and overstretched sector.
Caroline Abrahams Age UK’s directed echoed this sentiment, arguing that there’s a lot to be said for making smarter use of technology to help people manage health conditions but technology should only be introduced in situations where it delivers real benefits. When it comes to caring for older people, there is “no substitute for the human touch.”