A member of staff at a Lincolnshire hospital is using her purls of wisdom to knit activity blankets for patients with dementia.
Hazel Smith, housekeeper on Burton ward at Lincoln County Hospital has been creating fiddleblankets and fiddlemuffs for patients on the ward. Since starting just over a year ago, Hazel has knitted over 40 creations.
These activity blankets and hand muffs help to provide warmth and comfort for those with restless hands, as well as a source of mental stimulation and exercise for disoriented or confused patients, especially those with dementia.
Hazel, from Lincoln, said: “I’ve knitted nearly all my life, I was taught by my mother and knitted for my children when they were younger. Recently I saw these fiddleblankets online and thought I could have a go at creating them for our patients. Once I’d made one I couldn’t stop, my husband has even had a go at knitting one.
“The response from patients and their relatives has been great, hospitals can be a stressful place so being able to create something for our patients to keep them occupied is a great feeling.”
Rebecca Stanham, ward sister for Burton ward said: “We’re so grateful to Hazel for knitting these wonderful activity blankets for our patients. We know that hospitals can be particularly distressing for people with dementia and they often need extra care and support, so the blankets and muffs are a great way of keeping our patients calm when they are in our care.”
Burton ward specialises in complex elderly care and has a number of features in place to provide a better environment for patients with dementia. This includes fewer beds on the ward to allow patients who are prone to wandering with more space to walk around independently.
Hand rails and bay doors have been painted bright colours, to help patients find their way around the ward and relocate their bed easily. All bays have dementia friendly clocks, which not only tell the time but if it is morning, afternoon or night.
Sounds, including those from buzzers, phones and nurse call systems, are kept to a minimum so not to distress patients with dementia who might not understand where the noise is coming from or what it means.