With a little, fluffy body, big blinking eyes and a love for attention, PARO the, soft, stroke-able robotic seal is a life-changing companion for seniors who have dementia or struggle to interact with their surroundings.
PARO is just one of the pricey pieces of equipment the long-term care unit of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital is hoping to buy with a new, $2 million fundraising campaign.
While the 143-bed unit is starting to care for older and more frail patients, staff know residents still want to be engaged, active and happy. That’s why the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation’s (SPHHF) fundraising initiative is raising money to help patients get the most of out of life.
“Research shows that therapy programs and tools can make the world of difference to those living in a care facility,” says SPHHF in a media release.
“The Foundation wants to bring some new and innovative equipment to the hospital to complement the successful programs that generous donors have funded; programs such as art and horticulture therapy.”
Funds raised will go towards practical purchases like beds and bedside tables, but will also help to create more intimate spaces and enhance things such as the Memory Garden, including a greenhouse for year-round therapy, a water fountain, craft table, vintage car and garden chairs.
The Saanich Peninsula Hospital already has two PAROs, but they’re in high demand. The campaign would help the unit obtain more and an interactive tabletop projection system called the Magic Table, which encourages and rewards engagement and curiosity.
The one-floor, long-term care facility was built in 1972 and includes two visiting rooms, a large dining room and three courtyards.
“This community cares about its hospital,” says Shelley Mann, SPHHF board chair. “Our donors’ continued generosity has helped staff in long-term care purchase a number of ground-breaking therapeutic tools and worked to keep up with the equipment needs. Now we need the community’s help to make a great leap forward with a large investment in equipment and renovations that are greatly needed now.”
For more information on the campaign, visit sphf.ca/long-term-care/.
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