Staff from Care South care homes across Christchurch, Poole, Bournemouth and St Ives, near Ringwood were yesterday awarded a selection of puppies – but not the usual ones that require endless walks and hours of devotion.
As part of Care South’s annual Stars Awards ceremony held at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, the company’s 18 care homes were each given a robotic therapy pet – affectionately known as Biscuit, due to his golden colouring.
The Biscuit ‘puppies’ were presented to a representative from each home, following a successful trial in two Care South homes – including Templeman House in Northbourne, Bournemouth – earlier this year.
The special pets respond to touch and speech and are designed to reduce stress and anxiety in residents.
Templeman House led the way during the trial, using robotic pets as a form of therapy. The home’s robotic dog, also called Biscuit, is placed in different locations throughout the home – he makes noises and moves which prompts the residents to interact with him. Since Biscuit was introduced, the therapy pet has been a huge success amongst the residents, providing stimulation, comfort and companionship.
Robotic therapy pets are yet to be introduced nationally in dementia care, however very recent research into PARO, a robotic therapy seal, has demonstrated that these can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote social interaction, facilitate emotional expression, and improve mood and speech fluency, in residents with dementia.
Care South quickly recognised the success that Biscuit had at Templeman House and wanted to ensure that residents at all its homes across Dorset, Devon, Somerset and West Sussex shared the benefits of being able to engage with the robotic therapy pets, in addition to their usual wide variety of therapeutic activities.
Susan Willoughby, Chief Executive at Care South, said: “At Care South, we are continually looking at ways to embrace technology and evolve and enhance the care we provide to our residents, offering the best quality care to help them feel relaxed and most importantly, at home.
“We were very impressed with the results we saw from the introduction of the robotic dog at Templeman House so were keen to be able to offer the same experience to residents at all our homes. Everyone was thrilled with their Biscuit puppies at this afternoon’s Stars Awards!”
Care South is the leading provider of high quality residential and home care services across the south of England. Care South has care homes in Dorset, north Devon, Somerset and West Sussex, and home care offices covering Bath and North East Somerset and south Somerset.