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Mental health staff praise pop-up dementia pods

Tagged In:  Mental Health

NHS mental health nurses and carers across the UK have been reporting excellent results from using reminiscence pods to help dementia sufferers.

City of York Council has recently joined over 150 NHS trusts, care homes, day-centres and care charities who have installed the pods. They comprise 'retro' scenes such as railway carriages, shops, pubs and garden sheds. 

Research has shown that providing triggers that encourage reminiscence can help calm and reassure people living with dementia. Known as RemPods™ and developed by a start-up company funded partly by Dragons' Den investors, these groundbreaking therapy aids provide an interactive environment with things to see and touch. As well as evoking memories and recognition, they also help staff find topics of conversation that patients can relate to. 

One of the early adopters was Llandough Hospital near Cardiff, which has been using a cinema pod and a '70s living room pod since 2013. "They have been hugely popular with the patients," said Ward Manager Gail Evans in an interview with WalesOnline. "And, to be honest, the staff tend to have great fun with them too."

On one ward at Salford Royal, staff were delighted to find that a female patient who hadn't been eating very well since arriving at the hospital was much happier to have her meals while sitting in the reminiscence pod.

Nurses have also been using the pods to great effect at Rochdale Infirmary's Oasis Unit, where seven have been installed, including a beach scene and a dance hall. Clinical Matron Lou Harkness-Hudson explained how the pods have helped patients reconnect with staff and visitors: "We have been using the pods to host fun activities including trips to the beach and pub quizzes in the evenings, all of which provide a great opportunity for patients, their families and friends to re-discover things about their loved ones."

The Oasis team has created a brilliant youtube video showing one of the pods in operation. You can view it here.

According to Alzheimer's Research UK, there are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and by 2050 the number is expected to exceed 2 million. Similar growth projections were a major driver in York City Council's decision to install reminiscence pods in their five residential care homes. "Figures show that there are just under 3,000 people living with dementia in York at present," commented Carol Runciman, the Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health. "With this figure set to rise over the next few years, it's vitally important that we find new and innovative ways to support people with dementia, their families and carers."

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