Supporting our wonderful team members at Ozcare’s Hervey Bay, Toowoomba and Mackay Aged Care Facilities are a team of robots known as AMRs – Autonomous Mobile Robots. Over the last 12-18 months, the robots have been successful in reducing the amount of time, and manual labour, required of our team for the pushing of meal, laundry and waste trolleys. You can see them in action in this short feature video.
Although it’s a technology that’s been used for many years within the medical industry, Ozcare’s aged care facilities were some of the first in the world to implement the Lamson AMRs to undertake internal trolley transfers.
Progressing one step further, Ozcare Hervey Bay was the very first aged care facility globally to also undertake monitoring and reporting of the Lamson AMRs to measure the number and type of trips taken, distances travelled and time spent to deliver trolleys to where they are needed.
The reporting has allowed us to measure the distances travelled by trolleys and quantify the equivalent annual staff time and cost which is now spent in direct care of our clients.
The reduction of manual labour required at these facilities has resulted in positive outcomes for both staff and residents, leading to higher levels of safety and supervision, less work-related injuries, improved operational efficiencies, and most importantly. better-quality care for our valued residents.
Enhanced client care
By reducing the time spent pushing trolleys and carts around the facilities, staff are able to spend more time focusing on resident needs and face-to-face care. More time spent in conversation with residents results in higher levels of resident supervision and safety, increased personal knowledge of residents, better quality of care and ultimately, higher resident satisfaction levels.
Reduced staff injury
In addition to enhanced client care, the robots reduce the potential risks of personal injury and physical strain. The most common work-related injuries in the aged care sector are generally due to “lifting, pushing, pulling or bending”.
By greatly reducing the need for staff to push and pull trolleys throughout the facility, the risk of injuries such as shoulder strains or back injuries is greatly reduced. This in turn reduces the likelihood of WorkCover claims and personal leave related to injuries.
Cleaner environment and reduced risk of infection
The Lamson AMRs used in Ozcare’s Hervey Bay Aged Care Facility undertake transport of waste and dirty laundry out of the residential wings, and clean linen, laundry and general supplies back into them. As staff are not required to manually push these trolleys, it is possible to easily adjust the frequency by which waste and dirty linen is removed and clean laundry is returned, depending on daily requirements. This results in a more pleasant and cleaner environment for residents of the facility.
In addition, at meal times the robots deliver food from the kitchen to the dining rooms in temperature-controlled carts and return dirty dishes to the scullery as required. This ensures high food quality is maintained and enables Ozcare staff to focus their time on resident needs during meal service which is of particular value to people living with a disability and older Australians residing in aged care facilities.
The robots also reduce the risk of infection for staff and residents. This is achieved as there is only one point of contact between the AMRs and the trolleys, and contact with doors, handles, railings and lift controls which would occur during a person-driven trolley transport is eliminated. As people living with a disability and older Australians in particular can be more susceptible to infection, this is of significant benefit within an aged care facility.
Reduced risk of collisions
The sophisticated design and programming of the robots which includes laser guidance systems also means the risk of collisions with residents, visitors or staff is greatly reduced. The laser guidance system ensures the robots safely navigate hallways, tight quarters, and multiple floors, reducing the potential for damage to furniture or walls, and inbuilt sensors ensure that they stop moving if any obstructions are detected.
Ozcare receives ITAC Award
Ozcare was proud to be awarded “Best workforce efficiency or quality improvement solution” in the Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) Awards 2020 for our implementation of the Lamson AMRs, and the ongoing benefits continue to validate our decision to utilise this innovative technology.
When compared to processes in our aged care facilities that don’t use AMRs, the solution has resulted in reduced risk of injury to staff and residents, reduced staff time spent walking and waiting, an improved focus on quality time and attention for residents, and ultimately has enabled more efficient processes to be achieved.
It’s a great example of technology and innovation working hand-in-hand to drive enhanced outcomes for clients and staff alike.