Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity wants patients to benefit from digital reminiscence therapy

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Imagine waking up in a hospital bed and not knowing where you are, who anyone around you is, or why you’re there.

For someone with dementia, that feeling is very real; as you can imagine, hospital can be a frightening and unfamiliar place – especially if you have no recollection of becoming ill or injured in the first place. Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity hopes to change that with our winter appeal, which aims to make hospital more enjoyable for those with dementia by offering digital reminiscence therapy.

We are asking the local community to help raise £20,000 to fund tablets and unique software called RemindMeCare. RemindMeCare is revolutionising dementia care by aiding reminiscence, helping medical staff to better understand a patient’s likes and dislikes. It uses the internet to collect video, music and photos that are relevant to someone’s life, giving a snapshot of a patient’s life story.

The digital collection can help spark memories, which can stimulate conversations between staff and patients, helping to reduce anxiety and agitation. This allows staff to build a care plan that is truly person-centred around their wishes, needs and interests.

Laura Taylor, Senior Sister of the older people’s unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital, has worked with dementia patients at the hospital for eight years. She said: “Reminiscence can be hugely beneficial for those with dementia – it can help us build trust and a rapport with individuals which can reduce anxiety. If a patient is agitated, they are much less likely to eat, drink or sleep, which could increase the risk of a fall.

"On average, people with dementia spend nearly four times as long in hospital following a fall (Alzheimer’s Society, 2016) – unfortunately, the fall can leave patients more frail and, together with the extended length of stay in hospital, they are much less likely to be able to return home; increasing the likelihood of them needing to go into residential care.

“Not only are activities, like listening to music and looking through photos, a good way of alleviating boredom and reducing anxiety but they can really improve our patients’ emotional, psychological and physical health.

“By encouraging patients to recall and share memories, we can better connect with them and help reduce their anxiety – and it’s that connection and communication that is vital to being able to deliver exceptional care and can help reduce the risk of a fall and length of stay in hospital.

We need your support so that patients at Royal Surrey can benefit from the therapy. Please consider making a donation today – it really will make a difference to patients with dementia across Surrey; thank you.

The software is already being used successfully at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Donate today >