Cat keeping long-term patients company at VCHC, but needed to be contained

1/30/2014

Milo-area resident Greg Deitz of Calgary-based Invisible Fence of Western Canada trained a companion cat named Patches to stay within the boundaries of the Vulcan Community Health Centre’s long-term care wing.


Cats can be a source of comfort to patients.

But the furry creatures do tend to wander off.

So, on Jan. 24, Milo-area resident Greg Deitz of Calgary-based Invisible Fence of Western Canada trained a companion cat named Patches to stay within the boundaries of the Vulcan Community Health Centre’s long-term care wing.

Patches, who has been keeping residents company since last summer, can’t be wandering around the dining and emergency areas of the health centre.

The cat wears a collar, and, after it hears the collar beep as it approaches one of the two Invisible Boundary, the collar-clad cat did not venture beyond long-term care. Once the collar was removed, to adjust it, the cat bounded beyond long-term care.

Patches can still get outside through a door in long-term care, and to prevent it from coming in from the front door, the front door was to be wired so it would not attempt to get back in though that door, said Deitz.

The cost to install the Invisible Fence solution in long-term care and have the front door wired was about $2,000, with Invisible Fence of Western Canada covering half the cost. The other half was raised through donations.

Patches was skinny when she was taken in by VCHC staff last summer, and permission was given to keep her. Patches is a healthy cat now, and has had all her shots and been fixed, said Jane Machacek, the physiotherapy assistant at the VCHC.

“They’re just really happy with her,” she said of the long-term residents.

Long-term care residents will often talk about the cat with staff.

“It’s kind of a conversation piece.”

The frequency the Invisible Fence solution emits is very low — 7 kHz — so it won’t interfere with any medical equipment said Deitz. By contrast, the lowest frequency on an AM radio is 600 kHz, he added.

Source:  Vulcan Advocate

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