Working with Robotic Animals in Dementia Care: The Significance of Caregivers’ Competences




Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Learning & Competencies, Innovation & Productivity, Identity, Meaning & Culture


Robotic animals are increasingly discussed as a solution to challenges connected to the aging population and limited resources in care. While previous research focuses on the robots’ effect on the patients’ well-being, there is a general lack of knowledge regarding the hands-on experience of caregivers’ use of robots. Therefore, the aim of the study is to explore the competences that caregivers draw upon when facilitating interaction between residents and robots. The study was conducted through ethnographic observations and interviews with caregivers at dementia care homes in Sweden. The notion of ‘competence’ is understood as knowledge about the ways of working and social norms that are valued within a community of practice, which members develop through engagement in the community. The findings show that caregivers’ use of robotic animals as caregiving tools rests on embodied, social, and ethical competences.

Author Biographies

Marcus Persson, Linköping University

Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Learning. E-mail:

Lisa Ferm, Linköping University

Associate Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Learning

David Redmalm, Mälardalen University

Associate Professor, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare

Clara Iversen, Uppsala University

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work


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How to Cite

Persson, M., Ferm, L., Redmalm, D., & Iversen, C. (2023). Working with Robotic Animals in Dementia Care: The Significance of Caregivers’ Competences. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 13(3).