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Lunch club brings compassion and fun to dementia patients

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In early November, the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, launched the Friday Lunch Club which is one of a number of initiatives to improve care for patients with dementia.

The lunch club provides an opportunity for patients to meet and communally dine together. Patients enjoy a meal around a large dining table and then undertaking some form of activity.

There has been a Remembrance Day Meal using war time memorabilia, a beetle drive and word search games.  In addition Telford & Wrekin Council’s Creative Development Team has kindly funded 3 activity sessions. These have consisted of an artist getting patients involved in doing some painting, a musician and story teller who captured the hearts and minds of the patients and staff alike and a poet who, by encouraging patients to reminiscence about Christmas, created a poem based on their memories.

One member of staff has also bought in her small pet dogs which have been the stars of the show.


Helen Coleman and volunteers

From left: Volunteer Susan Irwin; Helen Coleman, Dementia Project Lead Nurse at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust; Volunteer Ann Dell; and Volunteer Jill Brookes

Helen Coleman, Dementia Project Lead Nurse at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said:

“The club has been such a great success and, although it was initiated to support patients with dementia, a wide range of patients have benefited.

“It has enabled patients to interact socially, enhancing their mental health and social wellbeing.  It has been a joy to see the delight of the patients who have found the event a welcome break from the day to day routine and boredom, providing some mental stimulus.

“The patients have really engaged with all the activities and for many it has kindled happy memories of the past.  Patients arrive not sure of what to expect but leave with smiles and laughter and, even though it has only been for a couple of hours, it has been a couple of hours of fun and interest.”

Sarah Bloomfield, Acting Director of Nursing and Quality at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said:

“The lunch club encapsulates key elements of the 6Cs by allowing patients and staff to interact in a mutually respectful and caring environment in which barriers are broken down and people can enjoy a brief moment of companionship and social interaction.

“Integral to its success has been the support of volunteers who have played such a significant part in helping to run the club and engaging actively with patients.

“We are hoping to undertake something similar at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital site and hope that we can continue to run and sustain the club at the Princess Royal.”

Sam Sherrington, Head of Nursing and Midwifery Strategy at NHS England, said:

“People with dementia sometimes need our compassion and care to go about their daily lives and to feel included in their local community. The small things can make a big difference to people living with dementia, and also help others to understand the condition better.”


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