Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Hope Hospice uses animatronics to comfort patients | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors – Active Lifestyle Media

Follow or share

Active Lifestyle Media

Hospice NewsHope Hospice uses animatronics to comfort patients | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors

Hope Hospice uses animatronics to comfort patients | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors


DUBLIN — To help ward off some of the isolation and loneliness elderly dementia patients in hospice care have been experiencing during the pandemic, workers at one organization have come up with a creative idea: robotic animals to bring them comfort.

Click here if you are having trouble viewing the slideshow on a mobile device.

Although live therapy animals have been used in hospitals and care facilities for quite some time, for people with dementia, the pets can be hard to care for, expensive and not possible for those with allergies.

So Hope Hospice, which provides compassionate end-of-life care and health services in people’s homes, purchased the robotic animals. Dementia patients are being given the robotic pets, which studies show can bring comfort for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive decline conditions, according to the nonprofit organization.

So far, Hope Hospice has purchased 20 robotic cats, thanks to a donation from the NorCal Minis car club. The animals look somewhat similar to stuffed animal toys, but they are battery-powered. When stroked or petted, much like a real animal, they will react and make noises and even small movements. The pets retail for about $130 each.

Because of hygiene restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 virus, patients and their families will be allowed to keep the robotic pets.

Depending on a patient’s cognitive ability, some think the animatronics are real animals, while others recognize they are toys, said Kendra Strey, director of communications for Hope Hospice. Either way, the pets can have a calming effect.

Strey said some late-stage dementia patients have trouble with repetitive behavior, or not knowing what to do with their hands. She said petting these animals gives the patients something to focus on and can calm them.

Some patients in assisted living facilities may also not be allowed to have real animals; the general care required for a real animal also may be too overwhelming for a dementia patient. The animatronic pets are “care-free” and can even help people who are allergic to animals, Strey said.

The idea was to bring patients some comfort and lift their moods, especially during the pandemic, said Nikki Tildesley, manager of volunteer services at Hope Hospice.

“We identified over the course of COVID, that patients were increasingly more isolated; Volunteers were unable to make face-to-face visits. Now in January, almost a year since our patients have had companionship visit, they’re lonely … their moods are changing,” she said in a video statement.

Patients with dementia are often more prone to side effects of long-term isolation and loneliness, according to Gia Barsell, the manager of dementia services at Hope Hospice.

“It’s common for care providers to observe increased agitation, confusion and repetitive behaviors in their patients who are struggling with a change in routine, like what this pandemic has caused,” Barsell said in a statement. They can stop talking so behaviors become their pain form of communication, she said.

Barsell shared in an interview how she witnessed one woman who had dementia, was COVID-19 positive and in insolation, brighten up when she was given a robotic pet cat. At first, the woman began absent-mindedly petting it when it was placed on her lap. Then she became calmer, and talked about what to name it.

“She just adores it; she talks with it. It calms her; it gives her something to do with her hands. There’s something about the purring gentle sound. So far, it’s been a great success,” Barsell said.

The isolation patients experience during the pandemic can be especially harmful for dementia patients. Dementia patients might have a hard time understanding that there’s a pandemic going on, and why a family member isn’t visiting them, Barsell said. The sense of abandonment is stronger than for others, as they can’t comprehend what’s going on, she said.

According to a story by the Associated Press, although Alzheimer’s and dementia usually progress slowly over a matter of years, if a person’s brain is stressed, patients could have a harder time bouncing back especially when visits can’t be as frequent or their normal routine has changed.


Click Here For The Original Source

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Leave a Reply