Local charity launches appeal to support dementia patients

15th May 2017


A local charity has launched a fundraising appeal to support people experiencing memory loss.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Charity aims to purchase a number of ‘My Life’ memory software packages that will support patients with dementia and neurological conditions being cared for at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.  The software aims to ‘spark’ recollections that can stimulate conversations between the patient and their nursing staff. Ultimately, it can improve a patient’s wellbeing and help provide a more personalised package of care.

The software includes a huge range of photographs, video clips, radio shows and music dating back to the 1930s. It also includes pictures and newsreels of the local area from wartime to the present day. Staff, patients and their family members can work together to create a personal profile and ‘Life Book’ for each patient. This can include their personal likes and dislikes, their favourite music, pictures of their childhood and even video messages from friends and loved ones.

Andy Dixon, Matron for Quality Improvement at Princess Alexandra Hospital said: ‘There is currently no equipment like this being used at Princess Alexandra Hospital and these software packages would make such a difference to patients experiencing dementia and other conditions. The touch screen technology is easy to use and the software is intuitive, so even less IT-literate patients are able to use it. This equipment is far more than a ‘digital babysitter’. It aims to stimulate interaction and uplifting conversations and create new, positive memories for our patients. We are delighted that the Charity has launched this fundraising appeal and we hope local people will support it’.

The equipment, which is already in use at other hospitals such as The Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust has already produced the following results:

  • A 66% reduction in falls as patients no longer have an inclination to wander round the ward
  • A reduction in feelings of frustration and anxiety which, if not managed, can lead to agitation and aggressive behaviour
  • An improved hospital experience for the patient, as perceived by both the patient and their family members
  • Improved interaction with family members when they attend hospital visits

The total cost of each software package is £4,000 which includes the software, a 24” touch screen TV on a trolley,  and full staff training.

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The integration and use of technology within healthcare offers significant benefits in both primary and secondary care settings. These benefits can extend across nursing practice from improving person centered care to enhancing daily workflows. Providing educational tools that empower and guide nursing staff through this digital revolution is critical and will help facilitate successful incorporation and safe implementation of technologies within nursing, by nurses.