Towards Ethical Guidelines of Using Telepresence Robots in Residential Care

Marketta Niemelä (Corresponding Author), Lina van Aerschot, Antti Tammela, Iina Aaltonen, Hanna Lammi

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    Robotic telepresence is a potential technology to help alleviating the loneliness of elderly people. The impacts of long-term use of telepresence robots in residential care are not well known. We were interested in how using a telepresence robot influences the resident, family members and care workers at a facility, and what challenges and solutions there are for wider adoption of such robots in residential care. With a telepresence robot Double, we arranged a series of three trials in two separate residential care facilities: one 12-week trial in a private facility and two successive 6-week trials in a public facility. In each trial, we installed the telepresence robot in a room of a long-term care home resident for communicating with her/his family members. Based on the results, telepresence robots do increase presence and possibly engagement of family mem-bers in residential care, but privacy is a central concern. The mobility of a telepresence robot is hard to utilize in residential care, and to be able to do so, ethical consideration and guidelines are needed. We provide a draft of such ethical guidelines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-439
    JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible


    • elderly
    • residential care
    • telepresence robot
    • social relationships
    • privacy
    • ethical guidelines


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