Step complete
Step complete
Step complete

Dementia is a complex and progressive condition, which can cause agitation and distress in those suffering from it in many of its stages, especially in the later more advanced stages. The positive benefits of physical human and animal contact are well known. However, the challenges of providing this continually are numerous. HUG is a soft toy/doll with weighted limbs designed to hug the user and has been developed to aid those with Dementia. Designed by researchers, engineers, and health professionals, working directly with those with Dementia by Cardiff Metropolitan University. The concept behind HUG is to reduce overall anxiety, encourage conversation and to provide comfort. HUG is a sensory, soft product designed to be cuddled and has a beating heart within its body. HUG can play music including favourite playlists.


TEC (Technology Enabled Care) Cymru will be capturing the outcomes of using HUG in different settings (nursing, residential, community, and hospital) and understanding how people feel about using HUG.


Project aims


HUG was developed to improve the individual wellbeing of patients presenting symptoms of agitation and anxiety, thus providing an improvement in service delivery and possible overall cost savings in staff time. The project aims to evaluate and identify the impacts, both positive and negative, of HUG, for people living with dementia. It also aims to identify and quantify cost savings achieved and any service delivery improvements. HUGs are being sent to nursing homes, residential homes, community teams, and hospital settings to evaluate the product in the hands of people with dementia and a wider scope of people with anxiety or agitation.


Find out more about HUG by LAUGH:


HUG by LAUGH – Gwent RPB



Health Board
  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Partners / funding sources

Matt Lloyd – Gwent Regional Partnership Board Assistive Technology Programme Lead

Gwent Regional Partnership Board – Assistive Technology Programme

Newport City Council

Linc Cymru

Start date
Completion date
  • Updates
  • Outputs

April 2022

Settings– settings for Phase 1 & 2 sessions have been chosen. Nursing, residential and community.

Gathering Data – Methods to gather data and length of the evaluation agreed.

Ethics - ethics and safeguarding issues considered.


October 2022

Initial visits to two evaluation sites, one residential home and one nursing home.

Base line data collected.

Plan for ongoing collection of project data agreed with both sites.


November 2022

Plans for evaluation of the project in the community have now been adapted to meet the challenges of HUG being used in private homes. Data will now be collected via the “Day in the Life of” project via the staff member working with that person.

  • Details of cost savings
  • Positive differences reported
  • Negative differences reported
  • Service delivery improvements reported
  • Recommendations for future use