Dementia-friendly ‘Tea parties’

A project to run regular social events for our patients with Dementia has been set up, funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity

A group of patients with dementia sit around a table, socialising with nurses, eating cake and drinking tea

People with dementia often find eating and / or drinking quite challenging, or there may be a change in their eating habits and preferences. These changes are sometimes quite dramatic and can be distressing for the person with dementia, as well as those caring for them.

Research has shown that providing a relaxed, social environment, appropriate consistencies of food and drink, as well as finger foods, may prolong a person’s independence and encourage them to eat more frequently – and who could blame them with these tasty treats on offer!

As such, a grant of £480 was approved by Nottingham Hospitals Charity to fund monthly tea parties for dementia patients on Ward B47 at Queen’s Medical Centre, for the next 12 months.

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Three members of Nottingham hospital staff stand smiling, behind a table bedecked with tasty cakes and sandwiches, ready for the dementia tea party to begin

Jane Stockwell (pictured left) is a Speech and Language Therapist in Nottingham, part of the Specialist Medicine and Dementia Team. She explains why she applied for the grant and what a difference it is making to patients. She said:

“Patients with dementia benefit from being in familiar, relaxed environments. As well as providing a social setting in which they can communicate, we often see that their oral intake improves in these 'tea parties'. Their dignity and independence can also be maintained by ensuring that the food and drink provided is of the appropriate consistency (for example thickened drinks or purée if a patient has a swallowing impairment) and is easy to access such as finger foods.”
A patient and her daughter smile at the camera during the tea party, arms around each other in a loving hug

Though the primary beneficiary is of course the patients themselves, the tea parties are also proving to be a fantastic learning opportunity for staff and carers, helping them observe strategies and working practices that might be useful when caring for dementia patients generally. 

Jane continued:

“The feedback from patients, staff and carers has been positive, with comments on how much patients enjoyed themselves, that they ate and drank more than usual and socialised with others.

“Other members of the team and carers are very welcome to join in what is always a positive and enjoyable afternoon!”

You can make a difference for patients with dementia, by donating to Nottingham Hospitals Charity today. Small projects like these can make a huge difference to patient care.

Donate and make a difference for patients right here in Nottingham.
A patient holds a cup of tea and looks at the camera, during a tea party on the ward
A patient holds up a piece of cake, as she looks at the camera during a tea party on the ward of Nottingham hospital
The food and drink on offer at one of the dementia tea parties varies in thickness, as some patients struggle to swallow
A selection of tasty sandwiches and cakes, on offer all set up ready for the dementia tea party
A patient and a member of staff look at each other and have a chat during the tea party
Jane Stockwell and a patient look at the camera and smile, during one of the dementia tea parties
A tea party is held on ward B47, for patients with dementia, at Nottingham hospitals

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