"We often say that if you get it right for someone with a learning disability, you get it right for everyone.”
The hospital can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing environment for anyone, but for adults with learning disabilities, it can be an even more daunting experience.
That's where the Acute Disability Liaison Team comes in - they provide support to adults with learning disabilities across Nottingham’s NHS hospitals, helping to ease their anxieties and make their hospital stay as comfortable as possible.
Recently, the team received a grant of £5,040 from Nottingham Hospitals Charity to trial the handheld "Baby RITA" devices. RITA, which stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, is an all-in-one touch screen solution that offers user-friendly interactive screens and tablets.
The devices have already been used on elderly wards at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) and have seen positive results in reducing agitation, isolation, depression, and delirium in patients with cognitive impairments such as dementia. The Acute Disability Liaison Team believes that the devices can also have a positive impact on their patients with learning disabilities.
As the team works across all NUH sites, the devices will be used for both inpatient and outpatient settings and appointments.
Fiona Hamilton, Acute Liaison Learning Disability Nurse, says:
“We’ve just started working with the RITA devices and they’re already making a positive difference. They really help to distract and reassure patients who struggle with the stresses and anxieties of being in hospital, and every day we’re learning a new way that we can use the RITAs to help people.”
The RITA devices offer a range of activities and entertainment, promoting engagement and interaction between patients and staff. It can greatly reduce anxieties and provide calming activities, enabling procedures and treatments to be carried out. In turn this will help reduce recurrent admissions and longer hospital stays, and improve the health needs of people with a learning disability. It can also help staff provide meaningful engagement and interactions with patients too.
Fiona Hamilton said:
“We’re really grateful to Nottingham Hospitals Charity for funding this project – we couldn’t do this without your support.”
By donating to fund similar projects, we can ensure that patients with learning disabilities and with other varying needs continue to receive the care and support they need in hospital settings.
Every donation, no matter how small, can make a positive impact on patient care and support important initiatives like the RITA project. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families here in Nottingham’s NHS hospitals.