Knitters wanted

Volunteers at Gosford Hospital making sensory blankets for dementia patients

Knitters are needed to help make sensory blankets for local patients with dementia.

Gosford Hospital Carer Retreat is hosting regular sewing circles for volunteers to help knit and sew blankets that have special sensory patches for people with dementia to touch and explore.

Carer support unit manager, Dr Sian White said the blankets had been developed in consultation with district staff and carers as a way of engaging patients with dementia.

“Being in hospital can be very frightening for patients with dementia, they are unwell and in an unfamiliar environment, so many feel paranoid, anxious and even agitated,” Dr White said.

“Giving patients something interesting and hand-crafted can make them feel more relaxed and settled. “The soft blanket is familiar and cozy and can rekindle memories that help patients feel at ease.

“Having interesting visual and tactile items attached to the blankets such as buttons, ribbons, pockets and zippers, gives patients something to touch, feel and fiddle with which keeps their minds occupied,” she said.

Each individual blanket has a unique eclectic design and is given to patients as a personal gift for them to keep. “For hygiene reasons, we do not reuse the blankets and it is a lovely keepsake for the patients and their families, but this means there is a constant demand for new blankets across the district,” Dr White said.

The call for knitters to help dementia patients also comes during Dementia Awareness Month, when local residents are urged to see their GP if they are worried about their memory.

Media release,
Sep 17, 2015
Lauren Nicholls, Central
Coast Local Health District