Hope Hospice is using Joy for All Companion Pets™ to help lessen the impact that pandemic-related isolation has had on its patients.
The animatronic pets by Ageless Innovation are robotic dog and cat toys designed specifically to comfort older adults in need of companionship. The pets are battery powered and, when stroked, become alert and make lifelike noises and small movements.
With a donation from NorCal Minis car club, Hope Hospice was able to purchase 20 Joy For All Companion Pet cats to start.
“No one expected quarantine orders to have carried on this long,” says Nikki Tildesley, Manager of Volunteer Services at Hope Hospice in a press release. “But here we are, nearly a year into this pandemic, and our patients continue to go without the benefit of face-to-face companionship visits from our volunteers, and in many cases, even the patient’s own family. They are truly suffering.”
Clinical studies conducted with Joy for All Companion Pets have shown positive results in mitigating behavior issues and potentially improving cognitive abilities in older adults, according to the same press release. Common findings across the studies showed positive changes including reduced anxiety and agitation, and improved overall well-being, resulting in socialization with others, decreased episodes of delirium, decreased need for psychotropic medications, and reduction in caregiver burden.
Hope Hospice began distributing the cats to its dementia patients in December. The non-profit organization will seek grant funding and donations to continue the program and to get lap-dog models.