Coronavirus: NY nursing home deploys robot to combat COVID-19

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, Westchester County (WABC) -- Nursing homes have been battling the pandemic for months, keeping out visitors and trying to cut down on the transmission of the virus.

Now, a nursing home in Westchester County is using a first of its kind technology to help cut down on the spread of COVID-19: Robots.

Andrus on Hudson, located on Old Broadway in Hastings-on-Hudson, has deployed a robot on wheels that rolls into patients' rooms when needed.

A doctor or nurse is behind the controls, and their face shows up on the robot's computer screen. It can check breathing, blood pressure, and a variety of other things, cutting down on physical touching in critical situations.

"It's really a win, win," said James Rosenman, CEO of Andrus on Hudson. "It doesn't substitute the human connection and the human touch by any means. It really is an extension of it."

It also cuts down on the amount of necessary personal protection equipment, which has been rationed.

The robot learns as it goes, and so do the residents.

"We had people at first saying, you know, 'What is this thing coming into my room?'" Rosenman said. Then they've gotten used to it, and it's something they enjoy."

The new technology is something residents will have to get used to at many assisted living facilities across the area. The robots can be used during non-pandemic times when a doctor isn't in the building.

Myles Brown, of Amenta Emma Architects, is in the business of designing senior centers. He's working on a future renovation of Andrus on Hudson that will include contactless technology wherever possible.

"To incorporate technology such as hands free doors, faucets and plumbing fixtures, that just for obvious reasons don't allow as much transmission for bacteria," Brown said.

The technology is expensive, but it can help decrease transmission. Brown says it's something nursing homes in the future will consider when it comes time to renovate or update their facilities.

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