How RITA is bringing a smile to patients’ faces

New therapy technology is making a difference to patients’ lives at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. 

 RITA, Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, is a system of easy-to-use, interactive touchscreens. It is designed for therapeutic applications such as in dementia and care of the elderly as it reduces anxiety and agitation. There is a TV-based system for group use and a tablet version that can be used by individual patients. 

 Content can be added to the screens including films, music, historic news reels and interactive games. To further personalise content, families can also provide photos to be uploaded into their relative’s own area of the tablet so patients can view them at any time. 

 To date, eight systems, a tablet and two projectors have been funded by hospital charity Blue Skies and more tablets are on order for individual rather than group use. With RITA being used on a daily basis, the system’s content is regularly refreshed through software updates and it can be lent to other departments as required. 

 On Wards 16 and 35 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital RITA has soothed dementia patients who have found the music and old films comforting. Over in Gastroenterology another patient enjoyed watching a Western whilst being confined to bed to receive treatment. 

 Ward 34 Manager Paul Howe commented that having the RITA is “a fantastic investment – the best thing since garlic bread.” 

 Diane Collery, Ward Manager for Ward 35, said: “The RITA came in very handy for a recent patient who had severe Dementia. They appeared much calmer when listening to the music. 

 “However, whilst the films are ones the older patients will know, they easily lose focus in between the songs. We found the patient much preferred to have just continual music. 

 “We have also used RITA for a patient who was continually walking backwards and forwards to the bathroom and the films actually were a good distraction tool. Personally, I think they are brilliant, and music is the best therapy of all.” 

 Blue Skies Head of Charity Kila Redfearn said: “Blue Skies was happy to provide the funding for the RITA systems. Our goal to is enhance patient care, and that is exactly what these incredible systems do. It’s wonderful to see the positive impact they are having on patients and staff alike.” 

 Blue Skies is the local NHS charity for Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and is 100% funded by voluntary donations. To find out more please see here 

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