RITA – Reminiscence Interactive Therapy and Activities

One of the conditions, common in older people, that mPower has supported is Dementia. The team in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust introduced a digital tool called RITA to help dementia patients at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

RITA stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy and Activities. It’s a therapeutic tool for people living with dementia and works by touch screen. It doesn’t rely on wifi which is a benefit in hospital wards as many hospitals restrict the use of wifi. It shows things like music, films, news reports and other things from the past to help trigger memories which can often be of great support and enjoyment for the person living with dementia as well as their families.

In November 2021 mPower funded one RITA device for the stroke ward in Daisy Hill Hospital. The project also provided 5 ipads with pre-loaded health and wellbeing focused apps and content. Staff were given training in how the device worked as well as how to use it with patients.

The hospital had a pool of volunteers who supported patients as Dementia Companions and they identified individuals who enjoyed using RITA during their hospital stays. On discharge from hospital, patients were provided with an ipad to trial at home and the Community Navigator provided links to any further training and support that might be needed.

15 staff at Daisy Hill Hospital were initially trained in how to use RITA and 110 people benefited from the tool in its first five months of use at the hospital. It is used for 10 hours a day on average which shows how much people benefit from it. Five additional RITA packages have been secured by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust which will be supplied to Lurgan Hospital and South Tyrone hospital.