People with dementia who are admitted to Noble’s Hospital are now being offered ‘Twiddle Muffs’ – knitted or crocheted hand muffs that provide a source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation, helping to keep them calm and comforted.
Karen Wormwell, Senior Sister on Ward 5, said: 'Hospital settings can often be confusing, challenging and overwhelming for people with dementia – particularly if they’re ill or have had an accident. We are always looking for ways we can reduce patient anxiety. I read about the success of knitted muffs being used by a UK hospital and thought there would be benefit in introducing something similar here in the Isle of Man.
'The muffs have interesting bits and bobs attached inside and out which are designed to provide activity for hands. Many patients with dementia find them comforting, and they help to occupy their minds whilst keeping their hands snug and warm.'
Patients keep their ‘Twiddle Muff’ throughout their hospital stay and then take it with them when they are discharged. For this reason new supplies are required all the time.
Given the demand, the St Marks Women’s Institute (WI) kindly stepped in to help. Members are providing knitting and crocheting skills while others sew on the bits and bobs to personalise the muff and provide different textures and interest. Other branches of the WI are also helping, as are individuals who have heard about the scheme and wanted to offer their support.
Cathie Quine, Senior Nurse and the Chairman of the Vulnerable Adults Link Practitioners at Noble’s Hospital, said: 'For some patients with dementia the ‘Twiddle Muffs’ make a real difference, even though it’s something so small and simple. It is often the little things that make a biggest impact for the individual patient and make a hospital stay easier.
'Sister Keren Wormwell is to be congratulated on the introduction of this initiative and we thank the WI and all the individuals who are contributing by providing materials, knitting or crocheting.'
If there are any knitters looking for a project Cathie would love to hear from them by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on +44 1624 650234.