Researching Hi - Tech Care Equipment

Researching hi-tech care equipment

The Japanese operator of nursing-care facilities has opened a center that develops and checks equipment using the latest technologies.

The government predicts the country will face a shortage of 550-thousand nursing care-givers by fiscal 2025 if nothing is done.

Officials at Sompo Holdings are viewing the situation as a potential crisis and believe technology can help lessen the strain on the system.

Its facility in Tokyo collects nursing-care equipment from around the world.

Researchers carry out development jointly with manufacturers, and also check the equipment's safety and performance.

One example is a self-driving wheelchair. A tablet computer can be used to navigate the device to various locations, such as a dining room.

It also stops automatically when objects get in its way. That means the user can get around without the help of a care-giver.

Bathing often requires a high level of care for patients, such as checks by staff members every five minutes.

To ease the burden, the researchers are examining a bathtub equipped with sensors that measure the respiration and the pulse of the bathers.

Sompo officials say they will introduce equipment at its nursing care facilities once it gets the green light.

Their goal is to raise the efficiency of nursing-care work by 20 percent over the next three years.