‘Twiddlemuffs’ and ‘Fidgetblankets’ are imaginative creations helping Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts’ dementia patients’ stay in hospital less anxious.
This artistic initiative was ‘pinched with pride’ from The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The ‘Fidgetblankets’ and ‘Twiddlemuffs’ are handmade, tactile pieces with items such as ribbons, large buttons or textured fabrics attached. They provide a source of visual and sensory stimulation, at the same time as helping to combat the restlessness and agitation that may be experienced by patients with dementia whilst in hospital.
They are chosen for individual patients to suit their particular needs and then are theirs for life. Patients find them reassuring and comforting, with excellent feedback and comments from their families and carers, such as “very nice and helpful thing to have”, “personal”, “useful” and “brought much needed comfort”.
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals have over 3000 in-patients a year with dementia. This project is part of the Trusts’ wider dementia strategy, making improvements to dementia care including: implementing dementia support workers; building bespoke dementia bays on two of our busiest medical wards (Spring 2016); developing a dementia friendly workforce; personalising care, better discharge co-ordination and a weekly carers café, to name but a few initiatives.
Occupational Therapist Layla Hibbs said, “We have noticed the significant difference in our patients for having a ‘Twiddlemuff’ or ‘Fidgetblanket’ whilst in hospital, combined with some brilliant feedback from our patient’s families and carers. We want to thank all of the members of staff and the public for knitting, making and donating these to us.”
If you would like further information about the project or would like to have a go at making one yourself for a loved one at home or to donate one to Ashford and St Peter’s then please get in touch with Layla Hibbs or David Sills at
Pictured above are the Ashford and St Peter’s staff who have been busy knitting ‘Twiddlemuffs’ and ‘Fidgetblankets’; from left to right - Nutrition and Support Specialist, Dietician Caroline Goodger, Dementia Specialist Occupational Therapists, Layla Hibbs and Diana Sheridan, and Lead Pain Nurse Harriet Barker.