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Helping patients with dementia at the L&D

08 February 2016

Do you enjoy sewing and/or knitting? Put your skills to good use and help patients with dementia at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
Patients with dementia at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital are now benefitting from creatively-designed handmade distraction materials, thanks to volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Cutenhoe Road. Church members have decorated a series of tabards (aprons) and cushions with brightly coloured materials and textures, including buttons, zips, keys, trinkets and laces, to help occupy and distract patients with dementia.

Yvonne Weldon, Dementia Nurse Specialist at the L&D, explained: “Patients with dementia often experience confusion and anxiety, especially when they are in unfamiliar surroundings like a hospital, and this makes them more at risk of wandering away from a ward or clinical area and potentially getting lost or falling over. Activity materials like aprons, cushions and twiddle muffs offer a great way of keeping hands busy and distracting patients, helping them to stay calm and avoid becoming agitated. The materials can help stimulate the brain and promote conversation and familiarity for the patient, and they are a simple and safe way to promote wellbeing.”

Karen Bush, Voluntary Services Manager at the L&D, said: “We are so grateful to members of the Cutenhoe Road Church for the time they have given to create these materials for our patients. Not only will they make a huge difference for our dementia patients, but we have also been able to put some old tabards to good use rather than just throwing them away.”

Karen also explained how anyone who enjoys sewing or knitting can get involved: “You don’t have to be a fully trained hospital volunteer to help with this initiative. If you like needlework or knitting, you can help in your spare time. As well as the activity tabards and cushions, volunteer knitters are also making us twiddle muffs, another very useful distraction tool for patients with dementia.”

If you’d like to help patients with dementia at the L&D by sewing or knitting some materials, email or call 01582 497384 for more information.