Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Call to Join in Knitters' Army; CREATE COMFORTERS FOR DEMENTIA CARE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Call to Join in Knitters' Army; CREATE COMFORTERS FOR DEMENTIA CARE

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson Chief Reporter craig.thompson01@trinitymirror.com @craigjourno

KNITTERS are needed to play a vital role in offering comfort to dementia sufferers in Newcastle.

The Dementia Care Team at hospitals in the city are looking for knitting groups and individuals to volunteer their skills to support people living with dementia while they are in hospital.

The team is introducing knitted comforters - knitted dolls and hand muffs that can be given to patients who are agitated and confused.

Giving the knitted comforters to patients with dementia help them to relax.

It has been found that the soft texture of the knitted comforter settles the patient, giving him or her something nice to look at, handle and touch, thus reducing anxiety and agitation.

The scheme has previously been trialled in care homes across the UK and is now to be introduced in hospitals across Newcastle after a successful pilot on older people's wards in the city.

Dr Julia Blagburn, senior lead clinical pharmacist at the Newcastle Hospitals, said: "Dementia is a chronic brain disease that can cause memory loss, personality changes and impaired reasoning.

"The use of knitted comforters to help bring a little bit of relief to patients has many positive effects.

"They are an accessible and costeffective means of relieving mild to moderate distress and the scheme is a harm-free, drug-free approach for patients."

There are no potential side effects, unlike when taking strong medication which is sometimes given to patients who demonstrate severe anxiety.

"A patient who has dementia and is in hospital may be more confused than usual and may therefore detach or remove vital care equipment such as dressings, tubes and cannulae.

"Knitted comforters have been shown to help patients settle during these particularly stressful periods. …

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