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Nurse initiative sees knitters make ‘fidget bears’ for dementia patients

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A nurse in Yorkshire has praised the response from the local knitting community after she appealed for them to make “fidget bears” to support people with dementia.

As a result, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has started receiving packages containing the bears from the knitters who responded to an appeal over the summer.

“Our patients can hold them in their hands and they act as a distraction and source of comfort”

Kay Brighton

Their arrival is due to the hard work of Kay Brighton, the lead dementia nurse in the Department of Elderly Medicine at Hull Royal Infirmary.

During a health expo celebrating the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July, the department’s team distributed around 100 patterns to local knitters, as a part of the Knit One Purl One campaign.

The bears are little knitted creations that loop over the fingers of patients affected by memory loss, confusion or delirium.

The idea is that the soft toys occupy their hands and make them less likely to pull out necessary intravenous lines and drips.

Ms Brighton noted that they were similar to “twiddle muffs”, which can be used to help calm and entertain patients, but highlighted that the bears also acted as a “source of comfort”.

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Fidget bears

Source: Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Some of the fidget bears sent to Hull Royal Infirmary

She said: “People often send us twiddle muffs which are brightly coloured knitted tubes fashioned with buttons, bows and ribbons to help us calm patients who need to keep their hands busy.

“However, these ‘fidget bears’ are also a great idea because our patients can hold them in their hands and they act as a distraction and source of comfort which can prevent the accidental removal of intravenous lines,” she said.

She added: “With the weather turning colder, people are picking up their knitting needles again so we’re starting to receive fidget bears in the post from those who took a pattern home with them.

“On behalf of our patients, we’d just like to thank everyone for all their support,” said Ms Brighton.

 

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