New butterfly memory trolleys have been delivered to wards at Airedale Hospital to help vulnerable patients living with dementia.
The 11 colourful trolleys, kindly donated by the Friends of Airedale Charity, all contain products that have been carefully chosen for their therapeutic and social benefits to patients – they include games, quizzes, conversation prompts, objects that are tactile and nice to touch such as tangle therapy and tobar blocks, along with arts and drawing materials.
The trolleys will be used by nurses, therapists and health care support workers as part of the one to one care provided to patients living with dementia, but can also be used by carers and families when they come to visit.
Evidence shows that if a person is engaged in meaningful activity and given mental stimulation whilst in hospital then not only may they sleep better, but they can be less agitated, are less likely to get up in the night and less likely to fall.
Em Snowdon, Practice Development Sister for Older People at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “The care and wellbeing of our patients living with dementia is very important to us so we are very pleased that our Butterfly Trolleys are now available on most wards at Airedale. We also have “Butterfly Champions” on each ward for patients, their families and carers to ensure there is someone to go to for help.”
This is just one of a number of ways the hospital is supporting the needs of patients living with dementia whilst they are in hospital.
The trollies take their name from the ‘Butterfly Scheme’ which is a way of alerting staff to the specific and individual needs of patients living with dementia.
People in the mid or later stages of dementia may have some difficulty communicating their wishes or needs to those who do not know them well. The butterfly scheme ensures that those wishes and needs are heard and responded to by attaching, with a patient’s permission, a butterfly symbol to their bed.
Patients then also have a butterfly care plan which includes recording their individual routines, preferences, likes and dislikes. Staff also have reminiscing activities as people with dementia often forget recent events; but talking about the past or looking at photos will often trigger detailed distant memories, helping build a way to communicate and re-connect.