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Robot-assisted Rehabilitation of Elderly Inpatients (ROBUST)

Physical exercise is beneficial for elderly patients and can improve the patients' functional capacity, shorten the hospital stays and reduce the number of patients subsequently admitted to nursing homes.


Start: 1 August 2022
End: 1 August 2025

Despite this, physical rehabilitation of elderly patients is often limited or completely absent in many hospitals. This is partly due to lack of staff and lack of time and partly due to the fact that the patients are often too exhausted and tired to get out of bed to do exercise.

That is why the project will test the Danish-developed rehabilitation robot Robert®, which can perform rehabilitation exercises for the leg muscles while the patient is lying in bed. Thus, the patient does not have to leave the bed to be physically active, and the robot can perform exercises alone with the patient, thereby freeing up staff time for other tasks.

The initial testing of the robot showed promising results; the patients were happy with the exercise and would recommend it to others.


The aim of this PhD project is to examine whether the patients avoid a loss of function during hospitalisation if they exercise with the robot daily.

The project is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) among 488 inpatients at the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Odense University Hospital in Svendborg.

The project will primarily be measured on functional capacity and 30 sec. sitting and rising tests, but also objective measurements (e.g. hospitalisation time, amount of domestic help, readmission, etc.) and patient-reported outcomes and experiences (PRO and PRE). An economic analysis of impact and costs will also be carried out.

If the projects shows that the rehabilitation robot can help elderly patients to keep their functional capacity, so that they, for instance, can rise from a sitting position, go to the bathroom or get out of bed alone, it can help increase their quality of life and general well-being, and they will then be better able to function at home after their hospital stay. 

When elderly patients are more self-sufficient after hospitalisation, there will also be a positive societal effect in the form of a financial gain for the municipalities with less expenditure on home care and further rehabilitation.


The project is developed at the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Odense University Hospital (OUH) and will be carried out at the the Geriatric Clinic at OUH Svendborg.

The project is a PhD project by Ann Sophia Bertelsen.

Read the scientific article about the project's feasibility study: “Use of robot technology in passive mobilisation of acute hospitalised geriatric medicine patients”.

Jesper Ryg

Jesper Ryg

Professor and Chief Consultant

Department of Geriatric Medicine

(+45) 6541 4620
Ann Sophia Bertelsen

Ann Sophia Bertelsen

Phd Student

Department of Geriatric Medicine