A trio of robots is saving staff at Tanunda Lutheran Home (TLH) from walking thousands of kilometres, and giving them back important face-to-face time with residents. The robots – christened Robby, Axil and Speckle – carry out back-of-house duties including carting food, linen and rubbish trolleys throughout the facility, as well as specialised cleaning tasks.
Lee Martin, Tanunda Lutheran Home CEO, was impressed by the potential of the robots when he saw them on display at an aged care conference two years ago and invited the consultants out to visit.
“They very quickly established that our staff were pushing trolleys around 9000 kms per year,” he says. “This equated to about 33,000 trips around our facility per year and a combined total of 12 hours of ‘trolley time’ a day.”
Realising the physical toll and time consuming nature of these repetitive tasks for staff, TLH was successful in their application for a commonwealth grant which allowed them to purchase and install the three robots. This is the first time robots of this kind have been deployed in an aged care facility in South Australia.
Two of the robots – Robby and Axil – are used during the day, shuttling trolleys and goods along the corridors. The other robot, Speckle, works while residents rest, using UV light to disinfect touchpoints (over 260,000 of them a year!) during nightshift. The robots are designed with sensors, ensuring they stop before touching any obstacle and eliminating the possibility of collisions. Best of all the robots have freed up staff to spend more quality time with the residents.
“We can now make the most of the team we have,” says Lee. “It’s not easy to employ staff in our regional facility but now we can upskill our team for more direct care-based activities which provides a better service for our residents.”
Photo: Tony Pasin MP, TLH Chairperson Chris Pfeiffer and TLH CEO Lee Martin welcome the robots to the workforce at the official launch.
READ MORE STORIES ABOUT Aged Care