Poetry for patients

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Health staff at a Doncaster dementia service have put pen to paper to take part in a poetry competition.

Doncaster’s Memory Therapies Service hosted its first annual ‘John Cameron Poetry Competition’ named after a recently retired staff member, to develop a selection of poems, to evoke memories.

It is hoped the poems can then be used in therapy sessions with patients, run at Forest Gate Day Hospital.

The service’s team leader, Carola Tramsen, said: “We run cognitive stimulation therapy sessions for people experiencing mild to moderate dementia, where we encourage people to discuss different topics, share their opinions and reminisce, which helps their thought process and concentration.

“At the end of each session we read a poem related to the subject, and wanted to develop a wider selection of poems, so nursing assistant Jackie Hodges came up with the fantastic idea to encourage staff to write some.”

Jackie added: “At first people were a bit nervous about getting creative, but eventually we had 17 poems submitted, all linking to the topics we cover in our CST sessions. Our winning entry was ‘The Milkman,’ by Lorraine Richardson and Joy Bullivant. Their poem conjured happy childhood memories of the arrival of a local milkman doing his round on his trusty milk float.”

The collection of poems will now be printed in book format and sold to raise funds for special days out and treats for patients who use the service.