Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care: reflections from a cluster-RCT

W. Moyle, C. Jones, J. Murfield, L. Thalib, E. Beattie, Ho Keung David Shum, B. Draper

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group Objectives: We undertook a cluster-randomised controlled trial exploring the effect of a therapeutic companion robot (PARO) compared to a look-alike plush toy and usual care on dementia symptoms of long-term care residents. Complementing the reported quantitative outcomes, this paper provides critical reflection and commentary on individual participant responses to PARO, observed through video recordings, with a view to informing clinical practice and research. Method: A descriptive, qualitative design with five participants selected from the PARO intervention arm of the trial. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12614000508673). Results: The five participants and their responses to PARO are presented in terms of three issues: i.) Different pre-intervention clinical presentations and different responses; ii.) Same individual, different response - the need for continual assessment and review; and iii.) The ethics of giving and retrieving PARO. Implications for clinical practice and future research are discussed in relation to each issue. Conclusion: The findings suggest that one approach does not fit all, and that there is considerable variation in responses to PARO. A number of recommendations are discussed to aid the delivery of psychosocial interventions with PARO in practice, as well as to guide future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Care Planning
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Psychosocial Interventions
  • Qualitative
  • Robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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