Hull’s army of knitters send ‘fidget bears’ to help people with dementia

A nurse specialising in the care of patients with dementia has received “fidget bears” from Hull’s knitting community.

Lead dementia nurse Kay Brighton, who works in the Department of Elderly Medicine at Hull Royal Infirmary, appealed for help to create the bears.

The bears loop over the fingers of patients affected by memory loss, confusion or delirium, meaning they are less likely to pull out intravenous lines and drips delivering essential fluids and medication.

Kay said: “People often send us twiddle muffs which are brightly coloured knitted tubes fashioned with buttons, bows and ribbons to help us calm patients who need to keep their hands busy.

“However, these ‘fidget bears’ are also a great idea because our patients can hold them in their hands and they act as a distraction and source of comfort which can prevent the accidental removal of intravenous lines.”

From left: Kay Brighton, Sarah Rippingale, Sam Geal and Dr Yoghini Nagandran

Kay and her colleagues working in the Department of Elderly Medicine handed out around 100 patterns to knitters as part of the “knit one purl one” campaign during the Health Expo in Hull, marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July.

She said: “People were very kind, asking how they could help. Our knitters are always so supportive and we’re very grateful for their help.

“With the weather turning colder, people are picking up their knitting needles again so we’re starting to receive fidget bears in the post from those who took a pattern home with them.

“On behalf of our patients, we’d just like to thank everyone for all their support.”