Director of the Dementia Centre, Associate Professor Colm Cunningham, said the evaluation would take place over the next three years and would examine the impact of assistance dogs for people living with dementia.
“The Dementia Centre is delighted to have been chosen as the programme evaluators for this exciting work. Preliminary data from similar programmes, including our own Dogs4Dementia in Australia in partnership with Assistance Dogs Australia, has demonstrated that assistance dogs can have profound benefits in the areas of social interaction, family and carer support, independence and routine.
“Respecting individual family experiences and circumstances along with the application of technology will all contribute to this evaluation process,” A/Prof Cunningham said.
The Dementia Dog Project is a collaboration between Alzheimer Scotland and Dogs for Good, and is funded by the Life Changes Trust. It commenced in 2012 with four dogs and this new phase will see an additional eight dogs placed in Scotland with people living at home with dementia. This evaluation process will focus on these new placements.
HammondCare’s Dementia Centre has offices in Australia and the United Kingdom with the Centre’s UK team leading the evaluation.
Fiona Corner, Project Manager for the Dementia Dog Project, welcomed the Dementia Centre’s appointment and said its strong research credentials, experience of assistance dogs work in this field and sensitivity to the needs of people living with dementia and their carers were key factors in the selection.
“We are delighted to appoint the Dementia Centre as evaluators for this next phase of the Dementia Dog Project, offering a great opportunity to further strengthen our international learning and collaboration in this pioneering field.”