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Therapy on hand to help patients with dementia in Worcestershire’s hospitals

Patients living with dementia are benefiting from a new form of therapy which helps calm, stimulate and reduce agitation during their hospital stay.

Digital reminiscence therapy kits have been in use on six wards across the trust since November and are already proving to be beneficial for patients with cognitive decline, memory and mobility problems.

The kits – which include a TV style monitor and a tablet – offer interactive activities and games such as jigsaws and bingo; and nostalgic music, films, TV and radio programmes.

Kirsty Stanton, Ward Manager on Ward 12 at the Alexandra Hospital where one of the kits is in place, said: “This kind of therapy is known to be extremely powerful for patients with dementia and we are already seeing how it can calm patients down. It can help de-escalate the situation if patients become distressed and it also reduces feelings of isolation.

“It’s powerful because we can also tailor content to individual patients - families can upload personal things like photos and music that their relatives can then watch and listen to. The reaction from the patient is often immediate.” 

Karen Wilson, Dementia Support Worker, said the kits had been well received by staff, patients and families. “We see over 3,000 patients a year with dementia so these kits will form an important part of our aim to deliver high quality care for them and their carers.

“I have found that they are particularly beneficial in ward bays as the content often prompts conversation and memory sharing between all of the patients in the area. It also means staff have an effective communication tool for the patients in their care.”

The kits, introduced by Donna Kruckow, lead nurse for dementia and older people, are an integral part of the Trust’s wider Dementia Strategy which will be formally launched next year. The dementia team are now looking at securing charitable funds to purchase reminiscence packs– which includes things like old newspapers and replica items from days gone by - to use alongside the kits and act as memory triggers.

The kits are currently in use on Silver Unit, Avon 4 and Trauma and Orthopaedics at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, and Wards 2, 12 and 17 at the Alexandra Hospital. 

4ward is our Trustwide culture change programme which is helping us build a more positive, supportive workplace for the benefit of our patients and colleagues. At its heart are our four 4ward Behaviours.