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Knitting the community together

A member of a local knitting group has taken to the wards of Whipps Cross

A member of a local knitting group has taken to the wards of Whipps Cross to see how the group’s knitted contributions are helping to keep patients safe.

Trudi Barnes, of E20 Knit and Natter, met with the hospital’s older people’s and dementia teams as she handed over a donation of nine knitted twiddle cuffs.

The hand-held cuffs, with ‘bits and bobs’ attached such as buttons and zips, are proven to stimulate activity for restless hands and help calm people living with dementia or experiencing delirium (severe confusion). These patients are at increased risk of becoming agitated when in an unusual hospital environment, leading them to refuse food and drink or withdraw from interaction with staff, and twiddle cuffs are among a range of tools that staff use to support their care.

Chris Pinch, Senior Nurse in Older Peoples and Stroke Care at Whipps Cross Hospital, said:“It was wonderful to thank Trudi in person and demonstrate how twiddle cuffs are helping to keep our older patients safe. Twiddle cuffs can be a highly effective therapy in providing comfort and stimulation to our patients. We are very grateful to all at the E20 Knit and Natter group.” 

At her visit, Trudi was told how twiddle cuffs work to keep patients entertained and their mind calm, with one lady on a ward showing off her “fantastic” twiddle cuff to everyone she saw.

Trudi said: “I am pleased that our knitting will be used to help people who live with dementia. Now that I’ve met the team and know the impact it’s making, I’m going to go back to our knitting group and say “keep going, knit more twiddle cuffs – it’s making a difference”. 

“All of us in the knitting group wanted to get to know the community better and working with our local hospital is just one of the ways we can. We like to think that we’re knitting the community together.” 

Established in 2015, E20 Knit and Natter enjoy meeting once a week to knit various items, from blankets for Syrian refugees to hats for fruit smoothies.

The hospital is happy to receive more donations of knitted twiddle cuffs. Anyone who enjoys knitting is welcome to donate twiddle cuffs by contacting Lynda McNab, Dementia Lead Nurse

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Barts Health NHS Trust
With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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