Charity funded technology introduced at UHNM to improve interaction with elderly patients

Staff at University Hospital of North Midlands (UHNM) are now able to better interact with elderly patients thanks to charity funding.

A number of digital bedside therapy systems have been introduced at wards at both Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital, in Stafford.

RITA, which stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, is a state-of-the-art digital therapy system which allows patients to use apps and games, watch movies, listen to music and view messages from family members as part of their hospital recovery.

The system has been rolled out on elderly care wards at both hospitals thanks to funding from UHNM Charity.

Nadine Opiniano, Matron for Older Adults at UHNM said: “RITA is of great benefit to patients with acute delirium, confusion and dementia who could become distressed with unfamiliar hospital surroundings. It’s shown to be effective in calming down the more anxious or agitated patients.

“The easy-to-use touch screens allow dementia patients to enjoy relaxing music, watch archived BBC news footage, view old photographs and listen to historical speeches, which evokes memories and is a great conversation starter.

“Since the introduction of RITA we have seen a reduction in falls, as agitated and distressed patients have remained in bed and been entertained by using the system. We’ve also had a lot of fun with RITA, recently holding a popular bingo afternoon using the large screen.”

RITA’s in-built games are also of benefit to recovering stroke patients, helping to improve movement and speed up recovery.

With ward visiting currently restricted due to COVID-19, patients and families have benefited from RITA’s ability to play video and audio messages.

Lisa Thomson, Director of Communications and Charity at UHNM added: “RITA has already had a wonderful impact on our patients, and we are looking to introduce the system on more wards in the future. It’s thanks to supporters of UHNM Charity that we can improve the experience and comfort of our older patients.”

If you would like to fundraise for UHNM Charity visit www.uhnmcharity.org.uk for more information, or call 01782 676444 to speak to one of the UHNM Charity team.

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