About us

Knitting up a storm for dementia patients

20 January 2016

Health Care

Are you nutty about knitting? Passionate about purling? Then join the scores of crafters across Southend who grabbing their needles to create these garments – known as twiddle muffs - for patients at Southend Hospital with dementia.

They may look like open-ended sleeves, but the muffs, with buttons of all shapes and sizes attached inside and out, can provide reassurance and comfort for patients with the debilitating condition, giving them something to do with their hands and soothing agitation.

Pam Dobson (pictured), and her friend Betty Foker, both from Trevett House, a sheltered housing complex in Southchurch, are avid knitters.

"I'm the sort of person who can't sit down without doing something, and this is nice and simple to do," says Pam, 79. "I used to work as a carer, so I know how upset people with dementia can get."

The fruits of their labour, plus those produced by keen crafter Kim Dunmore, an assistant with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) at Southend Hospital, along with her friends at a local crafting group, are pictured here.

Pam, 79, decided to help after residents at the house were visited by Michael Daley, Southend Hospital dementia specialist, as part of dementia awareness training he was running. She has now enlisted the help of other knitters. .

Meanwhile, Kim enrolled Coffee and Craft knitting group in Southchurch, run by friend Carroll Martin, to help in producing the pictured batch.

The PALs office at the hospital (along from the old main entrance, towards the tower block outpatients) will be a collection point for donated muffs, plus you can pick up a pattern or download one here: http://bit.ly/twiddlemitts. To find out more, please call 01702 435555 ext 5333

The muffs will be given out to patients while they are in hospital, and will stay with that patient beyond discharge, rather than being re-used.

"We are so grateful to Trevett House and all the groups out there who are helping our patients," says Michael. "They definitely help sooth restless hands and minimise agitation."