Robotic seals help dementia patients

Flo and Douglas, the NHS Borders robotic seals help  patients on the older adult mental health wards at Borders General Hospital.
Flo and Douglas, the NHS Borders robotic seals help patients on the older adult mental health wards at Borders General Hospital.

New arrivals Dougal and Flo, advanced interactive therapeutic robotic seals, are making waves with NHS Borders patients living with dementia.

NHS Borders is the first board in Scotland to use the certified medical devices to enhance the wellbeing of patients with dementia, Alzheimers and other complex cognitive disorders.

Christine Proudfoot, Alzheimer Scotland dementia nurse consultant at NHS Borders, said: “The recent arrival of Dougal and Flo within our older adult mental health wards at NHS Borders has made a real difference to our patients diagnosed with dementia.

“These interactive therapeutic robotic seals help to reduce agitation, improve socialisation, enhance mood and encourage interactions between patients and care-givers, which can in turn, result in a decreased need for medication.”

The benefits the interactive seals are bringing are already being seen by staff.

“Our patients have been engaging well with Dougal and Flo - talking, smiling and interacting,” said one staff member. “The seals are also a very good distracting tool which can be used to help minimise stress.

“They are sparking interaction between patients and creating the opportunity for shared moments, which are wonderful to see.”

And there has been positive feedback from patients’ relatives, one saying: “It’s nice to see my husband smile more; Dougal seems to brighten him up.”

This week - Monday, June 3, to Friday, June 7 - is Dementia Awareness Week to find out more, including information about local events visit: www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/latest-news/2019/may/28/dementia-awareness-week/

Contact Alzheimer Scotland Borders on 01573 400 324 or borders@alzscot.org