Patients with dementia to benefit from new machines

Patients with dementia will benefit from new machines they can interact with to help recall and share events from their past.

The Health Tree Foundation – Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust’s official charity – has funded seven Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities (RITA) machines for Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals.

The machines help patients with dementia, particularly with memory impairments, by helping them recall and share events from their past through listening to music, watching news reports, listening to wartime speeches, playing games and karaoke, browsing the internet, viewing old maps and photographs, making video calls and watching films.

Staff on wards and departments across the two hospitals submitted ‘wishes’ to the charity for the machines.

Two women stood next to a man who is sat up in his bed

Nichola Garner, ward clerk, and Louise Arrand, team leader, pictured with a patient using the RITA machine on Ward 19.

Nichola Garner, ward clerk on Ward 19 at Scunthorpe hospital, said: “Since having the RITA machine, we have used it many times and had a few dementia patients who have really benefited from using it. We have used it to keep patients occupied and calm, and also to distract some patients that have been with us a while now. They have all enjoyed watching old films, listening to music and playing games. It’s a great asset to the ward.”

Kate Scott, clinical nurse specialist for dementia at Scunthorpe, said: “The RITA machines help to provide therapeutic interaction for patients and helps them to engage with something which is meaningful to them supporting a person-centred approach. As a Trust, we strive to be dementia-friendly. The system will also help other vulnerable patients within our hospital too.”

This now means that the Trust has nine RITA machines at Grimsby hospital, seven at Scunthorpe hospital and one at Goole hospital. The charity has plans to buy more in the future and hopes to eventually fund one for each ward.”

Emma Hartley, community champion at Scunthorpe hospital, said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to fund these RITA machines, which will make such a big difference to our dementia patients.”

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