RITA (Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities) is a digital therapy system that allows
patients to listen to music, watch old films, use apps, games and other activities as part of their hospital recovery.
Used primarily for elderly patients living with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, the user-friendly technology has been in place across United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust for the last four years. Following its success and popularity with patients and staff, the Trust has invested in 20 new machines through its charity.
The interactive touch screen system allows patients to enjoy music, watch archive news footage, view old photographs and listen to famous speeches, to help spark memories and start conversations on the wards.
In addition to the popular reminiscence apps, other well-used activities on the system include karaoke, bingo, quizzes and jigsaws.
Zoe Chapman, Safeguarding and Vulnerabilities Nurse Specialist for Dementia at the Trust, said: “Patients with confusion, delirium or dementia can often become agitated in unfamiliar hospital surroundings.
“Caring for these patients can often become very complicated and challenging for both the patients, their loved ones and our staff.
“Over the last four years RITA has been invaluable. It provides something very familiar and comforting for our patients in an environment that may cause confusion and anxiety.
“I have seen patients transform from being aggressive and confrontational to asking nurses to sing along to hymns with them in a matter of moments.”
The staff on the wards have welcomed the rollout of the new machines to wards in Lincoln, Boston and Grantham hospitals.
Sister Imogen De Benedictis works on Scampton Ward at Lincoln County Hospital. She said: “The music is so popular for many of our patients as they can pick their favourite artist or even a decade of music to listen to. We all really love RITA and we cannot that the ULHT Charity enough for supporting this investment as it is really making a massive difference to our patients.”
Patient Betty Hester added: “Years ago we never had anything like this when we came into
hospital. Now I can listen to all of my favourite Elvis songs and it really does help me to pass the time. I think RITA is wonderful.”
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity Fundraiser, Gary Burr, added: “As a charity we are in a position to be able to fund the extras that really do make a difference for patients in our hospitals.
“RITA is a brilliant example of something that has been helping our patients for a number of years and so we know the difference it makes and how it benefits patients in our wards. By supporting this upgrade and expansion it will ensure many more patients are helped and supported through this therapy for many more years to come.”
Information about the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity is available on the Trust’s website United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity – United Lincolnshire Hospitals (ulh.nhs.uk)