The dementia team, along with all staff, work to get to know people living with dementia so they can offer comfort and support – including using specialist RITA (Reminiscence/rehabilitation and Interactive Therapy Activities) machines, which allow people to watch films, listen to music or play games.
The machines cost £6,000 each and since 2020 our charity has spent £94,000 on 22 RITAs across our sites, including six specialist ones for critical care.
Jessica Peterson, from the dementia team, said: “The RITAs are a really valuable and special part of creating person centred care plans so that patients living with dementia can have something comforting and familiar in their environment when so much has changed.
“RITAs can be used to start conversations, to promote relaxation and rest, to sing along to, to celebrate special times of the year and to play games. Films are available on the RITAs 'movies' section which offers films of all genres.
“Thousands of pounds of RITAs, instead of being used to support people living with dementia, are waiting to be fixed or sat on wards unable to be used because someone has broken them.”
The devices can have a huge impact on patients, helping to offer engagement, interest to and provide comfort.
Jessica said: “Two patients living with dementia were staying in beds next to each other and we discovered that they both enjoyed watching Westerns.
“We knew that the RITA could support some social time for these two gentlemen, so we positioned it between them and, along with some tea and snacks, they sat for the afternoon sharing films, laughter and some very special memories of when they had watched the films in their youth.”