In the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 35 member countries, most people aged 65 or older who need care receive it from caregivers between the ages of 23 and 44. With the number of women in this age group set to increase by only 7% by 2030 and the elderly population to double over the same period, pressure on caregivers will increase exponentially. In the US alone, 200 000 new caregivers must be added to the workforce every year to keep up with demand.
Lack of personnel and overwork in the caregiver workforce lead to high levels of stress, turnover and absenteeism. Apart from the inherent fatigue that arises from dealing with dependent people, this contributes to high physical injury rates among caregivers, higher healthcare costs and lower-quality patient care.
To relieve pressure on caregivers and free up more time for them to engage in value-added activities, Kompaï has developed an assistive robot for frail and/or dependent people who live at home or in an institution. Designed either to navigate and interact on its own or to be remote-controlled, the robot is conceived as a platform to exchange information and is combined with a “smart” walking frame that can, for instance, help users get out of bed, sit down or walk. This makes it the only assistance robot to offer physical support as well as the possibility to grab objects (as many robots do), a feature that professional caregivers value highly. Other functionalities include speaking and understanding basic questions and orders, sending SOS signals (including an emergency button) and providing medical and non-medical information, entertainment and Internet connectivity.
GOALS AND EXPECTED IMPACT
Drawing on extensive user feedback from pilots conducted with its partners, Kompaï is examining which scenarios and functionalities would be most promising for commercialisation. It will then further improve the robot and deploy on a larger scale in medical institutions and private homes.
Kompaï targets clients such as companies that set up equipment and IT for medical institutions, telecare providers and insurers. Its ultimate vision is for companies that are licensed to install medical equipment in homes or assisted living facilities to buy, install and operate its robots. Rather than pay for the service directly, users would then receive it as part of an insurance package that covers at least part of the costs.