Background: Individuals with dementia are often burdened with behavioral problems, which augment health care costs and burden of disease. Treatment of behavioral symptoms with pet therapy is acknowledged to be emotionally beneficial. Robotic pets have demonstrated similar promising effects without the undesirable outcomes of traditional pet therapy. Robotic pet therapy offers an effective replacement to traditional pet therapy.

Objective: The DNP scholarly project rigorously appraises the effectiveness of the SAR, PARO, an FDA approved biofeedback device, for non-pharmacological treatment of dementia-related symptoms.

Methods: An experimental design with repeated measures guided the study. Pre- and post- measures included reliable, valid tools such as: RAID and CSDD. Participants of the intervention group interacted with the SAR, PARO. One urban secure memory care facility comprised the setting.

Results: Thirty-nine residents, with 61.5% females and an average age of 74.38, were placed in the intervention group for 6 weeks. Psychotropic medications decreased by relatively 73.91%, 21.74% of psychotropic medications were discontinued altogether, 1.45% increase in psychotropic medication use observed. Mean pre- and post- CSDD intervention scores were 11.77 (SD = 4.25) and reduced to 7.56 (SD = 3.24). Average pre- and post-RAID intervention score was 11.97 (SD = 4.52) and decreased to 7.46 (SD = 3.46).

Conclusions: Implementation of a non-pharmacological intervention, PARO reduced incidences of anxiety and depression in lieu of psychotropic pharmacological modalities in the intervention group of geriatric residents with dementia.

Implications for Practice: The existing standard of practice for treatment of BPSD necessitates change and should incorporate the use of the non-pharmacological intervention, PARO for reduction of anxiety, depression and overall quality of life enhancement of geriatric residents with dementia.

Date of publication

Spring 4-29-2022

Document Type

DNP Scholarly Project



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Sandra Petersen, Dr. Cheryl D. Parker


Doctor of Nursing Practice

Available for download on Sunday, June 02, 2024