Twiddlemuffs enhance the care for dementia patients in Doncaster

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During Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-21) staff and volunteers at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals are putting their knitting needles to good use by creating ‘Twiddlemuffs’ for patients with dementia.

Twiddlemuffs are knitted woollen items worn on the hands covered with adornments such as ribbons, large buttons and textured fabrics that patients with dementia can ‘twiddle’ in their hands while visiting and staying in hospital. People with dementia often have restless hands and enjoy to have something to keep them occupied. The Twiddlemuffs provide a source of visual and sensory stimulation while at the same time keeping hands snug and warm.

Avid knitter Lyn Clarke, who works for the Trust, has been busy creating a range of colourful Twiddlemuffs for patients on the Mallard Ward at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, and alongside the organisation’s Enhanced Care Team, is keen to get other knitters on board to help make more Twiddlemuffs to be used across all sites.

Lyn said: “I discovered them on Facebook and knitted one for a friend’s relative who has dementia and who was constantly twiddling with the buttons on their clothes. It helped enormously and now I knit for the patients on the Mallard Ward. It is a very rewarding experience.”

Helen Green, Person-centred Care Practitioner, said: “We are hoping that volunteers, including staff, patients and visitors, will come forward to put their knitting skills to good use and make more Twiddlemuffs. They are an excellent way of helping to combat the restlessness that some patients living with dementia may experience. This project is part of the work we are doing to enhance the care for our patients and we would love to have your help.”

Twiddlemuffs are for single patient use and a continuous supply will be needed. The Trust is asking anyone who would like to put their knitting skills into action and donate the Twiddlemuffs. Alternatively any spare wool, material, ribbons or buttons that you would like to donate for the knitters would be gratefully appreciated.

Please send your completed Twiddlemuffs or spare wool to the Enhanced Care Team, c/o Twiddlemuffs, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Armthorpe Road, Doncaster, DN2 5LT.