Patients with dementia to benefit from ‘memory’ machines

Patients with dementia at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust will benefit from new machines that help to stimulate the memory.

The Health Tree Foundation, which is the trust’s official charity, has funded seven Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities (RITA) machines for the Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals.

The interactive tools help patients with memory impairments to recall and share events from their past. The machines work by supporting dementia patients to listen to music and wartime speeches, watch news reports and films, play games and karaoke, browse the internet, view old maps and photographs, and make video calls.

Staff from the hospitals had made a ‘wish’ to the charity for the technology and the new additions mean that the trust now has nine RITA machines at its Grimsby hospital site, seven at Scunthorpe, and one in Goole. It’s hoped that, eventually, the charity will be able to fund further machines and have one for each eligible ward.

Nichola Garner, Ward Clerk on Ward 19 at Scunthorpe General 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…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.”