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Dementia patients in Grantham get a purrfect new addition

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Dementia patients at our Manthrope Centre have received the ‘meow’ factor – following the addition of two robotic cats onto the ward.

The Trust's Manthorpe Centre cares for older adults suffering from dementia and has purchased two of the innovatively-designed robotic animals, to aid with patient care on the ward.

In addition to the two furry felines, the service has also invested in a robotic parrot, which can blink, yawn and even respond directly to voice control.

Occupational Therapist, Liz Lester was the first person to introduce them to the ward and believes they go a long way to helping the patients regain a strong sense of identity.

She said:

I was reading about a man, who was struggling to communicate with his mother after she had been diagnosed with dementia. He designed Pete the Parrott – a robotic bird that looked as good as the real thing - and then reported how it had an amazing effect on how his mother responded to the care she was receiving. I thought we could give a try at Manthorpe and it has received a positive reception. Our patients are in unfamiliar surroundings and these animals are great at helping us build positive relationships with them and add value to their lives.

Patients who suffer from dementia often find it difficult to communicate and express themselves.

But Occupational Therapist student, Tasha Laming, has seen first-hand that the animals can engage with the people the service treat, and in some cases says the patients and the toys have become inseparable.

She said:

Many of our patients often suffer from speech problems and struggle to produce coherent sounds without even realising. One day a patient was not very receptive to the questions I was asking her. So we gave her one of the toys and she started to respond more positively as if she was talking to the cat. It really was heart-warming to see, and it is these kinds of magical moments that make you remember the smallest of things can mean the most. The animals help our patients interact, and if it makes their lives more productive then we will continue to use them as part of our service.