An automated medication dispensing device.

Helsinki home care to introduce medication robots

The customers of City of Helsinki home care will soon be attended by medication dispensing robots – automated medication dispensing devices – that will take care of distributing medications to customers.

A medication dispensing robot is a device that gives the required medications to customers at the prescribed times. If a customer fails to take some medication, the robot recovers it. When all medications are stored safely inside the device, customers can’t take more medications than the amounts prescribed to them.

Customers report satisfaction with medication dispensing robots

A medication dispensing robot enables home care customers to live more independently at home. Because a robot dispenses medications, customers do not need to wait for a nurse to come by to get their medications.

“We’ve been testing medication dispensing robots together with Service Centre for about a year now, and our experiences have been highly positive. The device is easy to use, and customers have been happy with it. They have experienced increasing personal freedom. Home care nurses have also been satisfied,” says home care manager Sanna Numminen.

Because the device uses voice to guide customers and to remind them to take their medications, the medication dispensing robot is suitable for customers suffering from memory diseases. Customers are provided with support and instructions when robots are introduced to their care.

“Among its many functions, the medication dispensing robot makes an alert if a customer fails to take a medication dispensed by the robot for one reason or another. The Service Centre staff reacts to alarms 24 hours,” says systems designer Tuomas Rantala.

Medication dispensing robots help to reduce the number of nurses making home visits

Medication dispensing robots allow home care to focus home care visits on those customers who need the most personal care. This is of particular importance at such times as the coronavirus pandemic. The robots also help home care to reduce the number of home care nurses making home visits, as the robots handle the dispensing of medications to customers.

“The introduction of medication dispensing robots is one method to protect our customers during the coronavirus pandemic. Home care customers are often members of risk groups for the coronavirus disease, and it’s especially important to limit physical contacts with these customers,” Sanna asserts.

The employees of home care and the rehabilitation evaluation unit make assessments of customers who could benefit from the device. These customers will be contacted personally.

“All customers to be equipped with a medication dispensing robot will continue to be home care customers. Home care will ensure that the customers’ medications are ordered and the robots are refilled,” Sanna emphasizes.