Robots helping to create social distance at Union Hospital

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) –The RHIC Simulation Center is typically used to train students and employees at the hospital.

There are 12 robots being used at the hospital locations in Terre Haute and Clinton.

“Because of what’s gone on with COVID-19, we’ve had to shut down a lot of the education we do. Mostly because students are not in classes. And we’ve been trying to figure out really figuring out ways for us to be involved and help the hospital during this crazy time,” said Jack Jaeger of the RHIC Simulation Center.

They’re doing so with the assistance of some special helpers. They are telepresence robots created to help minimize person-to-person exposure.

“You’ll see the front of the double robot and see the face in there. The great thing about the double robot is you can communicate with the person on the other end through the telepresence device. They can see you, they can talk to you, you can talk to them,” Jaeger said.

The robots can also help identify patients who may have COVID-19 symptoms.

“When a screening takes place and there’s a suspected COVID-19 patient, that person then is put in an area where they can ask questions for registration and admitting. And that keeps people in the admitting area from getting exposed to the virus,” he said.

In addition to screening and patient communication, the robot can also help patients visit with their loved ones.

“We’re trying to decrease the exposure that family members have in this situation. So we can use for families to even communicate with the patient themselves,” Jaeger added.

He said it is one way the hospital hopes to flatten the curve.

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