An ethnography of robotic cat therapy in a Manitoba care home
Sutherland, Alesa L.
This research explored whether individual interactions with a robotic cat could improve quality of life for persons living with advanced dementia. The research was conducted with five women residents in a Manitoba personal care home. Theories of personhood, agitation, and nurturance provided the conceptual framework. Ethnographic research methods included video-recorded observations of each resident with the cat, semi-structured interviews with staff and family, participant observation and three sets of agitation inventories (CMAI). Findings suggested agitation was reduced, socialization increased and, with pet loving residents, nurturant behaviour was evident. The cat, as a device for increased social attention, created positive results with the non-pet lovers. Advanced dementia did not prevent the women from indicating choice. The study concluded that a robotic cat could be a useful resource for persons with advanced dementia, dependent upon prior life-style and personal choice.
dementia, robot, nurturance, agitation