ROBOTIC, pet-like seals to help soothe dementia patients, have been provided for older patients at Cairns Hospital.
Two seals, at a cost of $7400 each, were bought by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation after a donation was received from the Scope Club of Cairns for one of them.
Older Persons Evaluation and Assessment Unit (OPERA) nurse unit manager Jane Jordan was ecstatic to receive the seals, which behave like a pet – moving and making sounds, in a manner that has been proven to relax dementia patients.
“Patients can stroke and cuddle the seals, which has been found to reduce patient stress, stimulate positive interaction between patients and caregivers and improve socialisation of patients,” Ms Jordan said.
“They are a Japanese invention and have been in use there and in Europe since 2003. They behave as if they are alive, moving their head and legs, making sounds and showing preferred behaviour,” she said.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said she was thrilled that the seals could be provided and that they would make such a difference to people in our community.
“Unfortunately dementia is becoming increasingly common in society and if this is a way to help those living with it, to be calmer, and reduce reliance on medication, then it’s wonderful. We were very pleased to be able to facilitate this donation,” Ms Duncombe said.
Scope Club of Cairns president Carolyn Luxton said members were very happy the seals had arrived.
“We are sure they will be well received by patients in the OPERA Unit of Cairns Hospital. Although Scope (an Australian Women’s Club) is a relatively small group of members, we enjoy and work hard to fund local projects,” Mrs Luxton said.
Photo: Cairns Hospital patient Jack Fourie with his grandmother, patient Mary Francis and one of the seals.
Scope Club of Cairns member Fran Lindsay.
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