Introduction to HUG by LAUGH

HUG held by person

HUG by LAUGH® (HUG) is a sensory device designed to bring people pleasure and comfort. The device has been designed by Cardiff Metropolitan University specifically for people living with Dementia but can be used by people with various conditions.  In Gwent, HUG is being tested in a range of different settings to test effectiveness. It has weighted arms and legs along with an optional beating heart within its soft body.  It can play personalised music that can be changed to a favourite playlist. The HUG "magic box" which provides the heartbeat and music runs from a rechargeable unit which is removed when washing. 

HUG by LAUGH in Gwent

  • The Gwent Regional Partnership funded the HUG by LAUGH introduction across the region in 2020
  • Gwent was one of the first areas in Wales to take delivery at the end of 2021
  • A HUG by LAUGH implementation group has been established to guide implementation, raise awareness and ensure fair distribution across Gwent
  • A HUG by LAUGH evaluation commenced in July 2022 in partnership with TEC Cymru

HUG by LAUGH Resources

HUG Training

HUG Magic Box being inserted into the HUG

Key Features of the HUG by LAUGH

  • Arms and legs are weighted to make the person holding it feel safe and secure
  • It has a beating heartbeat that is run on batteries this can be removed for easy washing
  • You can create a playlist that can be added to the HUG so the person can be comforted with their favourite songs along with the beating heart, so it feels realistic

HUG by LAUGH Benefits

  • Reduce the number of falls a user may have
  • Increase general well-being and mood
  • Increase in appetite
  • Communicate with others more frequently

HUG Feedback / Impact Case Studies

HUG by LAUGH Research

HUG Development Background (from HUG by LAUGH Website):
Residents with advanced dementia often face limited mobility and communication challenges, leading to isolation. The HUG project was initiated for a lady in the late stages of the disease who lacked interaction and warmth. The solution was a soft, cushion-like wearable called 'HUG'. It mimics a hug through weighted hands and feet and features a comforting fleece texture.

Designed with a simple child-like appearance, 'HUG' includes a rhythmic heartbeat simulation using digital technology. Sensors trigger music from speakers when the object is moved. 'HUG' had an immediate positive impact, as the resident snuggled into it, spoke words after weeks of silence, and exhibited improved well-being. Care staff noted fewer falls, renewed appetite, increased communication, and social interaction among residents. Over three months, the resident's hand condition improved, regaining finger mobility.

Further Research Information on HUG:

For further information regarding the research that has been undertaken for this project can be found by following this link: LAUGH Research Features Article - LAUGH Project