What they said…NHS Derbyshire Community Health Services

Press Release

Special Art Gets Dementia Patients Talking

SPECIAL objects eliciting some dementia patients to talk lucidly for up to an hour have been unveiled at a Bakewell Hospital.

Crafted from a springy material known as aeroply, the six ‘Fortuitous Novelties’ pieces were created by Darren Browett, a 3D Design MA graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University. Darren, (37), of Belton, Leicestershire, presented the objects to occupational therapists at Newholme Hospital’s Riverside Ward on Thursday 14 October. Now health bosses at Derbyshire Community Health Services hope they will play a major part in the future care of patients there. Lorraine Turner, an occupational therapist for Derbyshire Community Health Services who works on the ward, said: “We were approached by Manchester Metropolitan University about the possibility of presenting some objects to our dementia patients as part of a project they were doing.

“The effect was a revelation.”

“It was literally like turning on a lightbulb – patients not normally able to engage in meaningful conversations were just tuned in, totally absorbed by the objects.”

“Some were even able to talk lucidly for up to an hour.”

Dementia affects around 3,000 people in Derbyshire, or 1.23% of the local population, and causes memory loss and severe brain disorders. Most patients are seen to be on a ‘downward spiral’, and even simple, day-to-day task like putting on clothes can be challenging.

“There was all this untapped potential suddenly unleashed,” Mrs Turner added.

“The objects stimulated them to come up with wild descriptions and fantastic storytelling. It was amazing.”

“The project was very successful both for the patients and the staff group involved.”

Visiting family relatives have also welcomed the project.

Ultimately health bosses say the art may have the potential to give dementia sufferers a voice in the way their health services are designed. Tim Broadley, associate director of services at Derbyshire Community Health Services, said:

“We might be able to use the art to open a whole new palette of thinking – now that really would be groundbreaking stuff.”

The ‘Fortuitous Novelties’ form one of a number of Arts for Health projects commissioned by Derbyshire Community Health Services exploring the concept of using art to empower patients.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • Derbyshire Community Health Services is responsible for providing NHS services in the Derbyshire County area and is hosted by NHS Derbyshire County.
  • NHS Derbyshire County is the NHS body responsible for improving and protecting the health and well-being of the people of Derbyshire. The Trust was established on 1 October 2006, following the merger of six former primary care trusts in Derbyshire (Amber Valley PCT, Chesterfield PCT, Derbyshire Dales and South Derbyshire PCT, Erewash PCT, High Peak and Dales PCT, North Eastern Derbyshire PCT). The Trust is the eighth largest primary care trust in the country, and currently serves a population of nearly 750,000.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Claudia Blake, media relations officer, 01246 514119

Email: claudia.blake@derbyshirecountypct.nhs.uk

Ref No: DCHS/RHR/002

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