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Boosting the wellbeing of patients with a blast from the past

Image shows a group of people holding objects

A ration book, a retro radio, a tie press and classic LPs are just some of the items being used to boost the wellbeing of Swansea Bay patients – but we still need your help.

Nostalgic items have already been donated to our hospitals in Neath Port Talbot and Singleton to help generate memories and conversations for patients with dementia.

A successful pilot at Neath Port Talbot Hospital improved the wellbeing of patients who were shown items they associated with their past – an approach known as reminiscence therapy. The items included rotary telephones, Green Shield stamps and newspapers.

Image shows a group of people holding objects This was such a success that it is now being introduced in Morriston Hospital via the staff library, which is accepting donations from the public and organisations on behalf of all of our sites.

Their collection already includes items from the past 80 years, ranging from a ration book used during World War II to its most modern addition - a CD player. All of which will be distributed to certain wards across the hospital and to patients in the community.

PICTURED: Morriston Library staff (from left) Angela Higgins, Betsy Morgan, Rhys Whelan and Rebecca Probert.

But the library team is after more items to help develop its long-term plan.

Betsy Morgan, Trainee Clinical Librarian, said: “We want to get to the stage where we can put items together and create different categories, such as anything associated with the war for example.

“Using items that people associate with their past can help patients – particularly those with dementia – to start a conversation and bring back memories.

“We have some amazing items from the 1940s, but we’ve also got items such as a CD player, for example, which were used a few years ago so it’s aimed at a wide range of patients.

“It has proved very popular in wards in Neath Port Talbot Hospital and Singleton, and it’s something we are starting to introduce in Morriston because the benefits have already been proved. We speak to certain services to see if they’d be interested in the items, while some staff come to us to request items to show patients.

“These items will also be utilised by our hospitals in Cefn Coed and Gorseinon while staff who go out into the community to see patients will take some with them too.

“We’ve already received a number of items from Swansea Museum, but we’re looking for the public to donate more as we know it can grow into a much bigger collection.”

Loren Evans, Practice Development Nurse within the Memory Impairment Advice Team, helped launch the pilot in Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

She saw first hand the benefits of introducing nostalgic items onto wards.

Image shows a woman holding some objects PICTURED: Loren Evans with some of the old items donated to Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Loren said: “We saw a clear rise in the wellbeing of patients. There were patients who really came out of their shell once they saw certain items, and it was a great conversation starter.

“Particularly for patients with dementia, their faces can light up when they look at a certain object that sparks a memory.

“It’s proved a big success so far. We’re very thankful for the items that have already been donated to our collection.

“It’s going to get even bigger and better once we can get a wider range of objects donated.”

If you’d like to donate items, please contact Betsy Morgan at Morriston Hospital’s staff library by emailing or ring the library on 01792 703131.

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