Jackie Smith and a Care Home Manager with one of the robotic cats tested
Submitted for publication by Louise Banks
After a robotic cat trial with a resident of a care home in Essex, evidence of the positive effects was so great that over 200 more were purchased to support people with dementia. The battery-powered cuddly fake cats purr, meow, and move when they are petted and hugged.
People with dementia often get excited, anxious, and frustrated and could benefit from having a pet, but struggle to ensure the safe care of a real animal. It is known that pets often calm people down and make a person with sense of purpose happy. Research has shown that an effective, drug-free way to calm a person with dementia is to give them a stuffed animal to interact with.
The introduction of the dementia robot cat and dog has shown that these can offer comfort to people with dementia.
During this Covid-19 emergency, when people were unable to visit their relatives, they have much-needed comfort for the 100 residents who have already received one of the 300 cats and 100 robot dogs purchased by the Mid and South Essex Clinical Task groups offered to support residents with dementia.
Mark Dorado, Community Mental Health Nurse on the Older Adults Wellbeing Team at the NHS Foundation Trust in North East London, said: “We have seen residents feel very excited and unsettled, but once these bundles of joys are given to them, their smiles return, they shine Working miracles, they seem much quieter. “
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Irene Lewsey, director of mental health transformation and commissioning at Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, who bought a first robotic pet in Thurrock to support a resident, said, “We know people with dementia have something That you can focus on and that will respond to you A positive path can be extremely beneficial and calming.
“We had the pleasure of offering our first robotic cat to an excited patient in a nursing home, which has proven to be a success. We have now invested in more robotic cats and dogs from other people with dementia in homes in central and south Essex and are already seeing very positive results.
“But we’re not going to stop there, we are investing in many more tools in the coming months to support residents in a better quality of life, both for people with dementia and for people with learning difficulties.”
In addition to “Cats and Dogs”, more work has been done to support people hospitalized with dementia through the deployment of an early pilot Magic Tables. These are sensory tables that aid people with dementia by helping them interact with music, pictures, and games.
Each robocat and dog is only used by one person.