A knitting challenge to get your mitts on!

08 January 2019
Knitting lovers are being urged to support a pearler of an idea to help dementia patients.

Dementia specialist nurse Jacqueline Young, Maggie Brown and Caroline Watson, from Voluntary Services, with Maureen Haigh, who brought  generous donor of twiddlemuffs from Ely Diocese Mother’s Union Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Trust is urging enthusiasts to get their needles out and create curiously named garments, called Twiddlemuffs.

A Twiddlemuff is a knitted muff that is adorned with accessories such as zips, pockets, key chains, beads, necklace pendants and buttons. 

They bring comfort to dementia patients as fiddling with the accessories provides stimulation, focus and reduces stress, anxiety, agitation or aggression – the known behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. 

Smaller Twiddlemuffs can also be placed over intravenous sites on a patients arm to prevent them pulling them out.  

Twiddlemuffs are for individual use only due to infection control reasons and, with rising numbers of older people needing hospital admission, stocks are low.   

Dementia nurse Jacqueline Young says they are easy to make with simple instructions and are an opportunity for individuals and groups to express their creativity.

Jacqueline said: “Twiddlemuffs are a fantastic example of how something so simple and low-tech can bring so much benefit to patients. 

“You can really see the difference when they have them and we can never have too many, so the support of staff and the public would be much appreciated.” 

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and one in 14 people over 65 have the disease. By 2025 it is predicted that the figure will rise to a million.

CUH has seven designated wards in its department of medicine for the elderly and at any one time can approximately 100 patients in the hospital with dementia.

If you would like to take Twiddlemuffs to the hospital, please call Kal Newman in Voluntary Services on 01223 586616 or email kal.newman@addenbrookes.nhs.uk.  

Instructions on how to make a Twiddlemuffs can be found below.