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11.12.2017 | Themenschwerpunkt | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 1/2018

A robotic shower system

Acceptance and ethical issues

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie > Ausgabe 1/2018
Prof. Dr. Barbara Klein, Inga Schlömer



Being able to maintain personal hygiene plays a crucial role for independent living in old age or when suffering from disabilities. Within the European project ICT Supported Bath Robots (I‑SUPPORT) an intelligent robotic shower system is being developed, which enables patients to shower independently at home or in institutionalized settings.


The aim of this contribution is the identification of ethical issues in the development of a robotic shower system utilizing the model for the ethical evaluation of socio-technical arrangements (MEESTAR).

Material and methods

In I‑SUPPORT a variety of concepts and methods are implemented in order to achieve technology acceptance such as user-centered requirements analysis, usability-tests and analysis of sociocultural and ethical aspects. This article reports the analysis of focus groups with 14 older adults and 9 professional caregivers utilizing MEESTAR as a heuristic approach for analyzing sociotechnical arrangements and identifying ethical problems.

Results and discussion

The MEESTAR procedure was adapted to the research question and client groups and implemented as a discursive method. This gave an insight into the meaning and background of ethical aspects and also a deeper insight into nursing processes as well as the requirements which the system should fulfil. Shortcomings are that the ethical dimensions are not everyday language and the time restrictions. In the next step a standardized assessment instrument will be developed and piloted.

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