‘Dave’ comes to the West Suffolk Hospital to help treat dementia patients

A new machine has been purchased for dementia patients at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, thanks to the funds of the Forget-Me-Not Dementia campaign. 

It’s called a digital interactive reminiscence software device, fondly named “Dave” by staff on the ward, which provides memory therapy for patients affected by memory loss and dementia.

Costing £8,000 it features a touch screen interactive system which can be used at the patient’s bedside and contains a huge range of photographs, video clips, radio shows, music and lyrics dating back to the 1950’s.

Maggie Woodhouse, the dementia trainer at the hospital, said: “We are using ‘Dave’ to spark recollections that can stimulate conversations between the patient, their family and staff/volunteers. This helps to provide a more personalised care and can increase the patients’ well-being. 

“The package enables our nursing staff /volunteers and family carers to interact with patients in contexts that are familiar to them. It can be personalised to the patient or be used in a group setting.”

The money for the package was funded by the Forget Me Not Appeal, which was initiated by the My WiSH Charity, which supports the hospital and is supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and Bury Mercury newspapers.

It was launched March 2014 to raise funds and awareness for patients with dementia as well as to provide support for family members and carers.

The fundraising appeal set out to raise £25,000 to fund a memory walk inside the hospital as well as further enhancing the care and support offered by the dementia team, but has raised well over £100,000.

Alongside the money raised, a big aim of the campaign was to raise awareness of dementia as well as challenge and change perceptions in a bid to push dementia higher up the agenda, break down barriers, tackle stigmas and make people realise they are not alone.

The money raised has enabled the hospital to enhance many aspects for patients with dementia, including the Forget-Me-Not Walk as well as contributed to the purchase of ‘Dave”.
Pictured above are, left to right, Julie Fountain, lead dementia nurse; Maggie Woodhouse, dementia trainer; and Alex Herring, from the providers of ‘Dave’. My Improvement Network.

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