17 November 2021
G7 is a dementia friendly ward within the medicine for older people department at University Hospital Southampton, looking after patients over 80 years old.
“Growing up with pets can be a big part of someone’s life, and when the therapy dogs visit our wards they always manage to make our patients smile,” says Dave Brett, Ward Manager.
“On one occasion, a patient came onto our ward with a weighted toy cat, and we quickly saw the calming effect it had on her.
Through Southampton Hospitals Charity we’ve been able to purchase our own weighted cat that helps to reassure our older people when they are confused and need comforting.
We had one patient who really took to this cat and felt that it was hers to protect and care for. It was lovely for her to have something to focus on whilst in hospital and to remind her of her old pets.
This also sparked a conversation between the staff member and the patient to talk about previous pets and keep her engaged with what was going on with her treatment.
Some patients think these are real animals and feel a sense of purpose when they pet and “care” for them. Others simply see it as a fun, cuddly and interactive toy.
What is clear to us on the ward is that it adds comfort and fun to our patient’s lives. It is a great addition, and we are very grateful for the support from the Charity.