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The Southern Trust is calling on local knitters and knitting groups to support dementia patients. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. One in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80.

The Trust’s Specialist Community Dementia Teams are appealing for cannula sleeves – a long knitted mitt with cuffs at each end which are often made with brightly coloured wool. 

An example of a knitted cannula sleeve.
An example of a knitted cannula sleeve.

The sleeves cover the length of the patient’s arm and help to protect intravenous tubes called cannulas that administer medication. 

Stephen Dunne, Southern Trust Head of Memory Service explained: “People with dementia can become quite restless and anxious, often making it difficult to provide medical care for example, to keep a cannula safely in their arm. 

The colours, decorations and textures of these knitted sleeves are a great visual, tactile and sensory distraction for our patients, helping to keep them calm and to ensure that they get the medication they need.”

Barney McNeany, Director of Mental Health and Disability Services added: 

“As we are increasingly seeing more and more cases of dementia, it is so important that as health care providers, we have an understanding of what life is like for this group of patients and try to find ways of overcoming the challenges they face. 

“The knitted sleeves are a really simple and effective way of helping to reduce anxiety in people with dementia when they need intravenous medication and we really appreciate the generosity of local people who want to give up their time and skills to give our patients a more positive experience. 

For further information please email corporate.HQ@southerntrust.hscni.net or telephone 028 3756 7097. 

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