Background: Caring expressions between humans and nonhuman intelligent machines are futuristic prototypes with healthcare robots as major advocates.
Objective: To examine the experience of older persons with mental health conditions, particularly patients with schizophrenia and with dementia in the interaction with healthcare robots and intermediaries in a transactive relational engagement.
Methods: Two qualitative case studies were conducted using sophisticated audio-video technologies to record the conversation and activities that were carefully documented. Following the procedure for qualitative descriptive analysis, a framework based on the Transactive Relationship Theory of Nursing was employed to analyze and interpret the data.
Results: Three themes were revealed, including feelings for the other, inspiring meaningful responses, and demonstrating expressions of joy. The description of the experience of older persons involved in the conversation with humanoid robots was feeling for the other while inspiring meaningful responses in demonstrating expressions of joy.
Conclusion: This study provided initial evidence that the transactive engagements of robots with older persons with schizophrenia and dementia and nurse intermediaries in psychiatric and mental health settings can result in occasions of ‘joy’ for the patients. These findings suggest that transactive engagements with robots facilitate expressions of joy among older persons with schizophrenia and dementia. However, these findings are not intended to prescribe nursing care actions but to describe the experience of older persons who are in transactive engagements with intelligent machines, indicating the importance and value of healthcare robots in nursing older persons with schizophrenia and with dementia.
Funding: This study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP17H01609.
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