A purrfect companion: Robotic cats welcomed at Grantham dementia ward

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Dementia patients in Grantham have received a new addition to their ward… in the form of robotic cats.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LPFT) Manthorpe Centre cares for older people suffering from dementia and has purchased two robotic animals to aid 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.

LPFT’s Manthorpe Ward in Grantham has invested in two life-like robotic cats and a parrot

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 Parrot – 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.

Liz Lester was the innovative mind to bring the robotic animals onto the dementia ward

“I thought we could give a try at Manthorpe and it has received a positive reception.”

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.”

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