The Distraction Therapy Collection is a range of specialist equipment, including touch screen monitors and tablet computers provided by My Improvement Network. Healthcare professionals at Walsall use the equipment at point of care to distract and stimulate patients with dementia. In a successful collaboration between the Older Adults Mental Health Team, Dementia Support Team and Library and Knowledge Services, a unique online tracking system for the collection was created and is now managed by the library specialists.

About the project

A review of the existing collection between the Library Manager and the Advanced Nurse Practitioner identified a need for a better tracking system for the equipment. The collection originally based in the Older Peoples Mental Health Team’s office was moved to the library to alleviate storage problems. A task and finish group was led by the Evidence-Based Information Specialist and the Dementia Support Worker who performed a range of activities including; compiling an inventory of the collection, checking the equipment worked and devising an online loaning procedure. All the distraction therapy equipment was labelled and added to the library catalogue so items can be tracked. The library team were trained by the Dementia Support Worker on using the specialist equipment. A web page was created to promote the collection and to enable online booking. The library team promoted the collection and explained the new procedure to Ward Managers. Regular ward visits are undertaken by the team to monitor the process.


How did it work?

It was agreed the Library Manager and the Advanced Nurse Practitioner would work in partnership to review how to manage the collection more effectively and promote. The Library Manager setup a Task and Finish Group for the project and assigned the Evidence Based Information Specialist to lead

The Advanced Nurse Practitioner designated a Dementia Support Worker with knowledge of the equipment and its use on wards. The nominated staff arranged a series of meetings to undertake the agreed action plan. The collection was moved from the Older Peoples Mental Health Team’s office to the library to alleviate storage problems.

There wasn’t a record of what was in the collection so an inventory was compiled, and checks made to ensure all equipment worked. The absence of a formal loaning procedure made it difficult to track equipment and make borrowers accountable for damaged or misplaced items so a loan procedure was devised and a website created explaining the process.

Equipment was labelled and added to the library catalogue so it could be tracked. Furthermore, the library team received training on using the specialist equipment and My Improvement Network Ward visits were undertaken to explain the formalised loan process to Ward Managers and register their wards on the new system.

Benefits and impact of the project

  • Partnership working has combined the expertise of the two teams and raised their profiles
  • Organising the collection has increased efficiency and usage
  • The new tracking system identifies when equipment is available and reduces loss

“This has been a fantastic addition to our expanding services that we are able to provide for
people with dementia in Walsall. It has now given us a very structured approach to loaning
the equipment. Not only has this innovation been a huge bonus but the service now has such a professional approach to it all with regard to advertising, raising awareness, social media  etc. The Library team in conjunction with Older Peoples Mental Health and Pathways for Life have been able to lift the profile of service provision to another level. I’m convinced that this is the beginning of really positive things to come for the future.”

Debbie Shaw
Nurse Practitioner Older Peoples Mental Health
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

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Royal College of Nursing

My Improvement Network are committed to investing in education for health care professionals and are proud supporters of RCN Projects

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.