Dementia is a loss of cognitive functioning (thinking, remembering and reasoning) to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
How we help
The activities we provide support our dementia patients with meaning activities during their stay, many of which are supported by voluntary organisations.
Wishing Well is an interactive live music programme that aims to:
- enrich healthcare settings and support patients’ wellbeing through shared musical experiences
- provide training for musicians and healthcare professionals
- extend the reach of music in healthcare into more hospital, hospice and clinical settings.
Wishing Well partners with NHS Trusts and charities across the South East. Its musicians work closely with healthcare staff to make sure their approach is right for each individual.
Activities volunteers support patients in maintaining normal levels of activity during their stay, by encouraging them to:
- take part in activities being organised on the ward
- sit out of bed for meals
- ask clinicians questions about care plans during their stay, getting home and anything that may be worrying them.
Our ward activity boxes were generously supplied and filled by the Friends of Chichester and Worthing hospitals. We’re able to keep them topped up through fundraising.
Donations to our dementia fund for more equipment like this are always very welcome.
Contributions can be made through Love your Hospital charity.
RITA (Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities) software helps reduce anxiety, isolation, depression and confusion in older people.
RITA is used across the UK and provides a wide range of benefits for patients, including:
- fewer falls
- less ‘specialling’ (1:1 observation and care)
- a significant reduction in use of anti-psychotic medication
- dramatically-improved patient experience
- significant improvements in patients with a dementia who are unable to sleep
- supporting dignity, respect and wellbeing for patients at the end of life
- better quality of patient-centred care
- shorter hospital stays
- improved interaction with patients for their carers and relatives.
A Twiddlemuff is a knitted or crocheted band we can attach items to for a patient with dementia to twiddle them in their hands while on the wards at our hospitals.
They help stimulation while in hospital and we’ve found they’re simple to make and use, and really valued by our patients.
We would be delighted if any willing knitters could help us create more Twiddlemuffs as part of our dementia awareness work.
You can drop off completed Twiddlemuffs at our hospitals’ receptions. Please enclose your name and address so that we can thank you for your kindness.How to make a twiddlemuff
Weald and Downland Museum outreach
Members of the Weald & Downland Living Museum’s Outreach Team are regular visitors to Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals as ‘Dementia Friends’ to our patients.
The Weald & Downland Living Museum is dedicated to the buildings and lives of the ordinary people who lived in rural south east England over the last thousand years.
Their outreach volunteers bring materials and artefacts from the museum for our patients to enjoy looking at and handling.
The volunteers are skilled at finding an individual connection with the objects for each person, encouraging conversation between group members and promoting the learning of new skills.
They will also visit bedsides, which can be particularly powerful as some patients are often anxious or unwilling to visit the table on which the artefacts are displayed. Patients are left with something they have made, or have helped to make, (for example, a small corn dolly or a muslin bag with herbs) is another important part of the visit and is much appreciated by everyone on the ward.