Pop-up rooms take West Yorkshire dementia patients back to familiar times

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Innovative pop-up rooms are helping dementia patients at a West Yorkshire hospital by taking them back to more familiar times.

The RemPods have been bought for elderly care wards at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs facilities in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract.

The pop-up rooms are filled with authentic furniture and memorabilia from previous eras to get people living with dementia talking about the memories they still retain, and to make them feel calmer. They can also relieve depression and improve memory loss.

As well as two vintage tea room RemPods, the trust has a potting shed, a sweet shop and a bar.

Patient Bryn Haworth, 89, visited the vintage tea room with his daughter Sally.

She said: “This is great. Dad recognises some of the music on the radio, he’s enjoying his coffee and the teapot looks familiar.

“Stirring these memories in this way gives us a better quality of time together as dad can remember things and we can talk about them. It’s a much less hospital-type environment as well, it’s more like being at home, which makes him feel calmer and more at ease.”

Richard Ernest, director of RemPods, said: “It’s great to see our RemPods being used by the patients as well as their families. Creating a fun and social space where families can really interact with their loved ones is an important part of good dementia care.

“Dedicating a space just for socialisation gives staff the opportunity to engage with patients and really get to know them. We know that our RemPods can’t cure dementia, but we can certainly help to improve lives.”

Four RemPods were bought thanks to an £8,000 investment by the Voluntary Services team at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, while charitable organisation League of Friends bought another of the rooms.

Anita Ruckledge, lead dementia nurse at the trust, said: “The memories evoked by being in a comfortable and familiar environment, and the calming effect it can have, are amazing. For someone who used to be a gardener, spending time in the potting shed can help them to remember the job they once had. They can carry out some of the tasks they previously did and it can help them to feel less agitated.”

Toby Nye

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