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Fluffy robotic seals providing therapy to dementia patients

Three fluffy robotic seals recently introduced at the Toowoomba Hospital are providing therapy to people with dementia and delighting staff and patients.

Certified as the World’s Most Therapeutic Robot6 by the Guinness World Records, the seals respond to petting by moving their tail and opening and closing their eyes and provide similar benefits to patients as therapy animals. 

Valued at $7,850 each, the seals can actively seek out eye contact, respond to touch, cuddle with people, remember faces, and learn actions that generate favourable reaction.

They can also recognise the direction of voice and words such as their name, greetings, and praise with their audio sensor.

The seals are proven to improve the emotional state of patients, reduce challenging behaviours, reduce feelings of loneliness, improve social interactions between patients and caregivers and reduce patient stress and the stress of staff.

The purchase has been made possible through funds donated to the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation from the 2016 Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland event.

The Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland lights display is held annually throughout the month of December in Queens Park and is organised by the Lions Club of Toowoomba West.

Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland project chairman Marshall Cox said the Lions Club of Toowoomba West and the event organising committee were extremely proud to see their hard work enable the purchase of this new technology for the Toowoomba Hospital.

“The Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland is a community event at heart, and to see the funds raised go to supplying such important technology to our local hospital is very heart-warming,” Mr Cox said.

“We would like to extend a massive thank you at this time to our sponsors, volunteers and all of the contributors that make this event possible as this purchase would not have been possible without them.”

Toowoomba Hospital Foundation chief executive officer Alison Kennedy said the Foundation were lucky to have the incredible support of the Lions Club of Toowoomba West.

“The Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland is a fantastic community event which not only provides an incredible Christmas experience for its visitors, but also generates incredible support for local organisations,” Mrs Kennedy said.

“We received $32,000 from the 2016 Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland which has enabled the purchase of this amazing technology for our hospital which we know will make a huge difference to our patients and our staff.”

In the 16 years the Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland has being running, $857,000 has been raised for local charities. In 2016, the Toowoomba’s Christmas Wonderland returned a record $100,000 to the local community. The total amount of funds raised at the 2017 event will be announced next week.

06 Feb 2018