Type keywords in the text box above.

Dementia patients to benefit from doll therapy thanks to Unison

27 Sep 2016 11:45:44
Dementia dolls

Workers' union, Unison has donated 13 ‘dementia dolls’ to The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust after hearing about their ability to comfort patients, reduce their anxiety and give them a sense of purpose.

The dolls, which cost between £10 and £15 each, are already being used by some patients in the Acute Medical Unit, cardiology and acute pain relief wards. The new additions will be used throughout the hospital to help older patients feel more comfortable and confident while being cared for in hospital.

Beth Goss-Hill, Lead Nurse for Dementia Care at TRFT, said staff are trained to ensure they know the benefits of using doll therapy and how to carefully select patients who may benefit from this unique method of care.

“We’re really grateful to Unison for funding our new arrivals. We know that people living with dementia-related conditions can feel anxious and distressed when they are in unfamiliar surroundings like hospitals. Inviting patients to care for a dementia doll is just one way we work with some patients to ease any anxiety they feel about being away from home,” she said.

“Used in the right way, and given to the right patient, they can have a phenomenal impact. They can bring back happy memories of parenthood and help people have a role to nurture and care. It can also improve communication and confidence.”

The Trust follows guidelines provided by dementia charities and organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society to ensure dementia dolls are used correctly and with the right patients. The advice includes naming the doll, rather than calling it a toy, providing a basinet or crib, using dolls that resemble real babies and allowing patients to pick up the doll in their own time.

Nurses are also provided with information sheets and training and will discuss the holistic therapy with families before introducing the dolls.

Beth added: “Studies have shown that using doll therapy can help patients living with dementia have a better experience when staying in hospital. But we’re very respectful of how families may feel about it and always leave it to the patient to accept doll therapy in their own unique way.

“We will leave the doll at the end of a patient’s bed or on a nearby chair for them to seek out themselves.

“We’ve trialled this kind of therapy throughout the hospital and have had such positive feedback from patients and their families. We hope our new arrivals show the positive impact they can have more widely.”

Angela Morris, Unison Trust Treasurer, said staff have been knitting ‘twiddle muffs’ to help keep dementia patients happy in hospital as well as baking cakes to raise money.

She added: “Fundraising for local charities and good causes is something close to our hearts at Unison so we’re delighted to be able to support the Trust by funding a new bundle of dementia dolls. It’s really rewarding to know they will be used to help dementia patients feel more settled and content during their stay at Rotherham Hospital.”


For more information about the work of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, please visit: http://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/ You can also join the 3,900+ followers we have on Twitter @RotherhamNHS_FT or ‘like us’ on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheRotherhamNHSFoundationTrust.



Latest News

Our latest news.


Our Twitter Feed

We've tweeted 5159 times so far!
We've tweeted 5159 times so far!
  • Are you a nurse looking for work to fit around your schedule? We’re recruiting band 5 nurses to work on our Bank. You can apply via NHS jobs or visit therotherhamft.nhs.uk/bankrecruitmen… for more information.
    Sat Mar 17 13:44:00
  • Thank you to Mandy Bainbridge (Street) for this photo taken on 3 October 1983 when Mandy and her colleagues began their training at the Rotherham School of Nursing. Mandy worked with us for 33 years and many are still here! #TRFT40 #NHS
    Fri Mar 16 14:58:36
  • From all of her colleagues at the Trust - Happy Retirement to Joan Bonser, Sister in Endoscopy, who leaves us today after over 30 years service! #TRFTProud
    Thu Mar 15 15:56:57
  • The PD Team @TRFTPDTeam  Calling all qualified nurses!!Come to our recruitment day to see what @RotherhamNHS_FT can offer u. Remember to have an interview on the day you must have submitted an application by March 20th.We have great career opportunities and #compass. What you waiting for?
    Thu Mar 15 13:07:23
  • Jon Miles @jonfmiles  Earcare and audiology service @RotherhamNHS_FT taking care of my dad. Living up to their award winning standard. #TRFT40 Totally awesome care
    Thu Mar 15 10:17:41