Airedale Hospital and Community Charity, thanks to a donation from a group of NCS (National Citizen Service) students, recently funded a companion cat for Airedale Ward 10. Airedale Ward 10 is an elderly ward where patients with cognitive impairments, such as dementia, are cared for.
Robotic companion cats look, feel and sound like real cats and they respond to petting, hugging and motion, much like real ones. The cat will provide comfort and a sense of purpose for people living with dementia. It will help to encourage a sense of empowerment, companionship and enjoyment and in some cases may provoke nurturing and caring memories helping with loneliness and isolation.
Katie Widdop, senior sister on Ward 10, said:
“As a ward we would just like to say Thank You for purchasing the companion cat (named Marmaduke) for the patients on Ward 10.
“We pride ourselves in providing excellent enhanced care and where possible, we use distraction techniques to settle patients as best we can. This helps to reduce agitation and anxiety associated with hospital admissions and being in unfamiliar environments.
“Marmaduke will add to the activities and distraction therapies that the ward offers. Marmaduke has already been a hit with staff who are now all familiar with how he works and where he is stored to be used as needed.
“We have started using the companion cat with patients who have found it comforting and therapeutic. We’ve found that it helps to calm patients. We found it to be particularly soothing for those patients who normally have pets at home or had them as children as they often go back to this state of mind and have good recollection of their earlier lives.”
The companion cat was funded thanks to a donation from a group of NCS Changemakers aged 16 and 17 from Craven College and Settle College. The group walked 8km around Skipton in December 2021 and raised £170 to buy the companion cat. They wanted to do this to support elderly patients at Airedale hospital as they have elderly family members who have been cared for at Airedale.