The Innovation in Dementia Showcase, hosted in partnership with CAV Shaping Change, brought together creative minds and ground-breaking innovations to show how we can enhance the lives of dementia patients.  

Benyw yn eistedd i lawr gyda chlustffon VR ymlaen

Read on for a summary of some of the innovations from insightful organisations who attended, with each designed to bring comfort, connection, and independence to those living with dementia, and their caregivers. 

What was the aim of this event?  

The Innovation Team within Shaping Change at Cardiff and Value UHB together worked in partnership with Life Sciences Hub Wales to bring about the event. It’s a key priority for both teams to work collaboratively across regions, industries and specialities to drive change and adopt innovative technologies that patients could benefit from.

The Innovation in Dementia Showcase was for health and social care professionals working across Wales. It’s estimated that around 900,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, and the event not only showcased the deep impact that dementia has on those who are diagnosed, but also on those who are closest to them.  

In a world that’s constantly evolving, it’s encouraging to see innovations coming to the forefront to improve the lives of those affected by dementia. There are a range of technologies that can help you in your everyday life, and this event explored the inspiring organisations that are helping to do just that.  


Embracing innovation: heart-warming stories from the pioneering organisations showcasing at the event

HUG by LAUGH – a cuddly companion that can make a positive difference. 

HUG, a soft comforter equipped with weighted limbs, a simulated heartbeat, and a customisable music player, has redefined the concept of companionship. Originally designed for one person with dementia whose responsiveness was declining, HUG made a remarkable impact, resulting in significant improvements in well-being.  

Jac Fennell, Managing Director said:

“Notably, HUG led to an improved quality of life. It fostered a deep connection with the individual’s interactions improving, including singing along with it. It was emotional to see.” 

In 2021, the project was scaled up when HUG was awarded Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator funding, which enabled the product to become widely available for anyone to buy. The product has continued to expand, not only being purchased by users and organisations directly from the website, but also with major retailers like Amazon and Argos. The Alzheimer’s Society Accelerator partnership means that every HUG sold contributes to future dementia research and design innovation. HUG is now being used in social care and NHS hospitals, and at home with individuals.  

HUG has been evaluated in an NHS and care home qualitative study and has been found to improve well-being in 87% of people, reduce anxiety and agitation, improve connection, reduce loneliness and isolation, and modify distressing behaviours.  

Pobroll®️ – bed bathing made easy! 

Director Pat O’Brien addressed the sensitive issue of bathing, turning a potentially distressing and upsetting experience into one of dignity and comfort. 

As an answer to the escalating problem intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pobroll®️ provides a solution for both patients and caregivers. It’s for anyone who requires assistance bathing in bed. It calms and reassures the person being bathed, keeping the individual warm, the bed dry, and respectfully covered during personal washing on the bed. Facilitating a full-body wash, without distressing bath time routines. By providing dry, cosy, and stress-free bed bathing, Pobroll®️ has become a beacon of hope for families dealing with dementia.  

Pobroll’s into its fourth year running, with the support of Alzheimer’s Society, and its success stories are heartening. Pat O’Brien, Director said:  

“Pobroll®️ calms patients and provides dignity and respect during bed-bathing. We’ve seen that families have preferred keeping mum or dad home, rather than putting them into a care home.  

“We’ve had a recent success story from two daughters who would help their elderly mum. Prior to having Pobroll, the bathtime experience was quite traumatic. Now they have a closer connection, mum’s experience has been made better, keeping her in the comfort of home, and a reduced strain on healthcare resources”. 

YourMeds – simplifying medication management  

YourMeds is a collaborative project between Life Sciences Hub Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, and Bridgend County Borough Council. It aims to simplify medication schedules, allowing patients to take their medication on time. 

It’s a digital pill box with pods pre-filled by community pharmacists and delivered directly to the user, providing audio and visual aids to remind the user when to take their medicine. The system alarms every 10 minutes for one hour, or up until you take your medicine. You can choose up to five people to support you to take your medication on time, where an online portal is connected to the device which will alert your circle of care.  

Speaking about the YourMeds project and Life Sciences Hub Wales’ support in our recent Annual Report news story, Thomas Sauter, Clinical Lead Pharmacist at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, said: 

“It’s been brilliant to work with Louise and the rest of the Life Sciences Hub Wales team on our digital medication management evaluation. They have provided a wealth of knowledge and information that has allowed us to get the most from our initial idea. The ongoing support and opportunities provided have ensured we are able to deliver the service we wanted for the individuals in our community.” 

Konnekt Videophone by Just So Care  

The Konnekt Videophone was designed specifically for older people, enhancing the quality of life for those living with dementia, and their loved ones through assistive technology (which translates into 52 languages). It allows users to talk face-to-face with family, friends and carers, providing regular interaction and reduced feelings of isolation and anxiety.  

Dan Barron, Director said:  

“Konnekt has provided unexpected moments of joy. Yes, it has it’s separation anxiety benefits and many others, but we’ve also seen interactions that we weren’t expecting. One daughter was using it with her mother to cook together. Bringing back experiences that they enjoy together, reducing that feeling of loneliness, and keeping them involved in family life.” 

There were so many other amazing innovative organisations such as Cwmpas, My Improvement Network - RITA, and CPR Global Technology that are paving way for digital devices that encourages support, autonomy and independence for patients with dementia.  


The future for dementia care 

These innovations are not just technological advancements, they are beacons of hope, illuminating the lives of those touched by dementia. As these remarkable inventions continue to evolve, and where compassion and innovation walk hand in hand, the future for dementia care is brighter.  

Pat O’Brien was truly amazed by the energy and enthusiasm in the room, with feelings of hope for the future.  

Pat O’Brien said:  

“The positive energy in the room was palpable. I was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by everyone who walked through the door, whether they were working at student level, or a director of services. In fact, it was really refreshing to see director level people participating with interest, alongside carers. I came away feely truly buoyed up.  

“A very worthwhile day. The right people, in the right place at the right time. I really am so very glad I came. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.” 

Dan Barron, Director of Just So Care can see three developments for the future of dementia care. Dan said:  

“There will be more inclusion in the community. Less resilience on hospital beds, more care at home, and that care will be greatly assisted by technology, and the pharmaceutical industry’s development to slow down the onset of dementia, will hopefully become available in the UK.” 

Jac Fennell, Managing Director at HUG by LAUGH said:  

“The future of dementia care looks like a compassionate, connected and technologically empowered approach.  

“Awareness-raising events like this, showcases ways caregivers and innovators can come together to support better outcome and improve quality of life for people living with dementia.” 

HUG by LAUGH also have an upcoming invite-only event in the Senedd in December. If you’d be interested in attending, please contact for more information.  

Missed us at the event showcase? Don’t worry! If you’re a health and social care organisation eager to drive innovation to the frontline, we’re here to help. Reach out to discover how we can collaborate and make a significant impact together. Get in touch here


Andrew has an immunology background in academia and industry with extensive experience in cell and tissue bioprocessing, analysis and storage for use in advanced cell therapy manufacturing. Within his current role as project lead in the precision medicine programme, he has a focus on molecular diagnostics and in particular the development of point of care testing services in Wales.