Hartlepool knitters needed to help dementia patients

Sue Dalgleish and Michelle Wild, right, with examples of the knitting.
Sue Dalgleish and Michelle Wild, right, with examples of the knitting.

Hospital workers are calling on knitters to create special twiddlemuffs for dementia patients.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is urging people in Hartlepool and East Durham to knit more of the thick knitted muffs, with items such as buttons, beads and ribbons attached, which patients can hold.

Michelle Wild with some of the dementia dolls.

Michelle Wild with some of the dementia dolls.

The trust is also appealing for more dolls, which dementia patients love to cuddle and sing to.

Dementia patients often have restless hands and like to keep their fingers occupied.

Twiddlemuffs help to reduce anxiety and provide comfort and distraction. This is so important when patients come into hospital as their anxieties are often heightened due to illness and a change in environment.

The trust first introduced the twiddlemuffs two years ago and they have proved very successful and they are urging knitters to make more.

We find that the dolls help patients with dementia be more settled and reassured

Michelle Wild

Nurse practitioner Michelle Wild said: “Often dementia patients have restless hands and like to have something to play with and keep their hands busy.”

They are used on the orthopaedic ward at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Sue Dalgleish, an associate practitioner in orthopaedics, said: “Often we find our dementia patients have pulled out their IV tubes, giving them a twiddlemuff offers a distraction and has prevented this happening in most cases.

“It would be great for people who enjoy to knit in their spare time to get involved and help us make more for the patients.”

Michelle is calling for donations of dolls for dementia patients.

She said: “We find that the dolls help patients with dementia be more settled and reassured, leading to a better recovery. The problem is that patients get attached to the dolls and like to keep them, so we always need more of them.

“The response I have had so far has blown me away - we’ve had people from out of the area donating them to us. Many of them with their own personal stories about how dementia has affected their own lives.”

Anyone who would like to try their hand at making a twiddlemuff can find a pattern at http://www.knitforpeace.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Twiddlemuff-Pattern.pdf.

Any donations of twiddlemuffs or dolls can be sent to the Julia Siddle, enhanced care coordinator, 2nd Floor North Wing, Ofice 264, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE.