A qualitative study about how telepresence robots help school‐aged children with cancer to remain connected with their school classes during treatment

A study from the Danish Rigshospitalet explores how four AV1 telepresence robots help school-aged children and adolescents with cancer to remain socially and academically connected with their school classes during cancer treatment.

Aim

To explore how an AV1 telepresence robot helps school-aged children and adolescents with cancer to remain socially and academically connected with their school classes during cancer treatment.

Design

Qualitative pilot study.

Methods

Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with school-aged children and adolescents (N = 3, 12–14 years) diagnosed with cancer, their parents (N = 3), teachers (N = 2), classmates (12–14 years, N = 15, focus group interviews) and healthcare professionals (N = 4). Participant observation was performed in the child or adolescents' homes and in the classrooms during education participation via an AV1 telepresence robot.

Results

Five themes emerged: expectations, sociality, learning, spatiality and technology. Participants experienced the robots as facilitating social interaction processes with classmates and inclusion in learning activities, reducing their sense of loneliness and lacking behind educationally. Nevertheless, multiple factors determine whether the robot is perceived as exclusive, including the technical functionality of the robot, spatiality in the classroom and mutual expectations of the parties involved.

Bibliography

Weibel, M., Nielsen, M. K. F., Topperzer, M. K., Hammer, N. M., Møller, S. W., Schmiegelow, K., & Bækgaard Larsen, H. (2020). Back to school with telepresence robot technology: A qualitative pilot study about how telepresence robots help school‐aged children and adolescents with cancer to remain socially and academically connected with their school classes during treatment. Nursing Open, 7(4), 988-997. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32587717/