PARO, the Therapy Seal That Helps ICU patients to Recover Faster

PARO is a technologically advanced robot that AIST, a leading industrial automation company in Japan, has developed. It offers a kind of animal therapy that is proven to be helpful in helping patients cure faster. When introduced to hospitals and ICUs, animals are known to create a pleasant atmosphere that helps patients recover faster. However, there are limitations to the use of real animals in hospitals.

PARO is a therapy seal that is used as an alternative of pets, mainly used to help people who need the company. Real pets need care, they may bite or scratch, and they may cause infections as well. However, all that PARO needs is a pacifier with which its battery is recharged.

Know About PARO

PARO is a cute robotic harp seal that is 6 pounds in weight and has an anti-bacterial, fluffy fur. It is fully equipped with microphones, 32-bit processors, and a number of tactile sensors. It can recognize voices, give whistles and squeaks, and track motions. It can remember behaviors, and its touch-sensitive whiskers allow it to interact with humans. It also has little motors with which it can wiggle.

It seems to come to life with its five sensor types, auditory, tactile, light, posture and temperature.

  • The light sensor allows it to differentiate between dark and light
  • The tactile sensor make it feel being beaten or stroked
  • The posture sensor allows it to feel being held
  • The auditory sensor helps it to recognize words and voice, like its name, praise and greetings
  • The temperature sensor allows it to recognize the environment and act accordingly

At present, a number of nursing homes across the globe have bought PARO to help their patients in the following ways:

  • It reduces patient stress
  • It gives support to human caregivers
  • It stimulates interaction between the caregiver and the patient
  • It has psychological effects on the patients by motivating them and improving their relaxation
  • It improves socialization among the patients and with the caregivers

PARO interacts with people in a way as if it is alive. It moves its legs and head, makes sounds, and shows your preferred behavior. It imitates the voice of a live baby harp seal.

Benefits of the Therapy Seal

Key benefits of PARO include the following:

Reduces Negative Behavior and Emotional Symptoms: One of the major benefits you get from having PARO is that it alleviates negative emotions and reduces behavioral symptoms, which is why it is found to be very helpful in relieving dementia. The robot is also found to help in reducing verbal and physical agitation, improving anxiety, and reducing depressive symptoms. Patients who were given the company of PARO had to take less psychotropic medicines and had reduced wandering. Such kind of help is desirable not only for the patients but also for the caregivers.

Improves Social Engagement: Individual patients who used PARO were found to improve their social engagement by increasing participation in activities and promoting more communication spontaneously. Thereby, PARO was found to be helpful in improving both visual and verbal engagement during social interactions. It can also facilitate comfortable conversations between the therapist and the individual. It also made communication between patients easier. All in all, PARO improves their interaction and communication skills and shows positive emotions among individuals. Staff members also became more willing to work and communicate with elderly people suffering from dementia.

Older people with dementia regained their confidence to talk to others around the facility. They spoke more words and even participated in storytelling activities. With improved communication, they develop improved moods and calm behaviors. They feel less lonely and improve their social engagement.

Promotes Positivity in the Mood

It has been found that dementia patients who interact with PARO show improvements in their mood, behaviors and emotions. It makes people more active, relaxed, comfortable, and more likely to smile and laugh. As a result, they show bright facial expressions. It not only improves the patient’s mood, but also the quality of care offered by caregivers, and the comfort level of the families. They could also have better sleep without any medical use.

According to real users of PARO, it is definitely something to love, as it offers some really meaningful companionship to those in need. It lightens everyone’s mood and the patient starts thinking of it as a companion. Overall, PARO can stimulate memories and promote an overall positive mood. As a result, significant improvements are noticed in the patient’s overall physical and mental condition.

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