Cardiff Metropolitan University
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HUG: A compassionate approach to designing for wellbeing in dementia care

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posted on 2023-03-13, 12:24 authored by Cathy TreadawayCathy Treadaway, Abdul SeckamAbdul Seckam, Jac FennellJac Fennell, Aidan Taylor

 Design can improve the quality of life of people living with dementia but creating successful design solutions is not simple, due to the complexity of the medical condition, and the ethical considerations of including those affected in design research and evaluation. This article describes research involving an interactive product, ‘HUG’, developed from academic research, to support the wellbeing of people living with advanced dementia, which is now commercially available. People affected by dementia were included at every stage in the design research process. The evaluation of HUG took place in both hospital and care home contexts with 40 participants living with dementia. In this paper, a qualitative hospital study is described, in which patients received a HUG on prescription. Findings reveal that although HUG was rejected by some, those patients who did accept it benefitted significantly. Not only did the device reduce distress, anxiety and agitation but it also helped with patient compliance in medical procedures, aspects of daily care and enhanced communication and socialisation. The Alzheimer’s Society’s accelerator partnership funding has enabled this product to be manufactured and made commercially available so that the benefits of this academic design research can be made more widely available to people living with dementia. 


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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health




  • VoR (Version of Record)


Treadaway, C., Seckam, A., Fennell, J., & Taylor, A. (2023) 'HUG: A Compassionate Approach to Designing for Wellbeing in Dementia Care', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(5), 4410.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Art and Design

Cardiff Met Authors

Cathy Treadaway Abdul Seckam Aidan Taylor

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

CARIAD Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Art and Design

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  • © The Authors


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