HUG companions, Carleton Clinic

Ruskin Unit in Carlisle recently received funding from SHINE for a new therapeutic tool to provide comfort to patients on the unit. 

Ruskin is an inpatient dementia assessment and treatment unit based at Carleton Clinic. ‘HUG’ is a sensory product specially designed to provide comfort to people living with dementia. It has long weighted limbs to simulate a cuddle, an internal music player and software to mimic the feel of a beating heart.

Two members of staff holding HUG companions

HUG was developed from academic research led by Cardiff Metropolitan University and has been tested over the last four years in hospitals, care homes and by people affected by dementia who are living at home.

I have observed patients find so much comfort from the hug dolls. The hug dolls have improved sleep quality for patients who have never slept alone apart from being in hospital. The soft warm pillow body is soothing with weighted limbs and a heartbeat to comfort patient

Member of staffRuskin unit

Research has shown that the HUG can improve quality of life, reduce anxiety and agitation and enhance social interaction. Staff on the Ruskin Unit hope that this therapeutic intervention will help to meet the fundamental needs of dementia. They are already having a positive impact as a calm down method.