Global policies on assistive robots for care of the elderly: A scoping review

Christina Plaschka, Diane Sawchuck, Timothy Orr, Thomas Bailey, Dawn Waterhouse, Nigel Livingston


The elderly are the fastest growing portion of the world population. The majority of elderly want to remain independent as long as possible, with responsibility for their care often falling to family or caregivers. Assistive robots could help maintain independence in the elderly while relieving the burden of care on families and healthcare professionals. This scoping review seeks to examine the type and scope of global policies on the use of robotic technology for care of the elderly in international jurisdictions and to assess how they align with current Canadian policies. This review also seeks to determine current perceptions on the use of robotics in care of the elderly and potential barriers to their use that policy makers could encounter. A comprehensive literature search was conducted for articles related to robotic care of the elderly, perceptions of robotic care of the elderly and related policies, using a global lens. A three-step strategy was used to review and identify articles. The search identified 10 primary and secondary studies and 13 grey literature sources. Studies reported that response to robotic care for the elderly had both positive and negative aspects, and that concerns around privacy and cost were prevalent. Japan and the EU had the most comprehensive policy strategies and proposals. Robotic policy in healthcare is relatively new but will become increasingly important in the coming years. Canada needs to strengthen and anticipate its national policy strategy to ensure it can stay aligned with the fast pace of technological change. Further robust research should continue to explore potential for, and concerns over robotic care.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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