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14 February 2019

RITA is battling boredom and dementia at Sevenoaks Hospital

A high-tech, interactive computer named RITA is making the world of difference to patients at Sevenoaks Hospital.

The inpatient wards, run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), have introduced the technology thanks to a generous £7,000 donation from the hospital’s league of friends.

One reminiscence interactive therapy and activities (RITA) computer and also a tablet were bought to help patients stay occupied while in hospital.

But RITA is no ordinary computer; the easy-to-use touchscreen technology opens up a world of films, exercises and activities for users, including clips from old football games, black and white films and software that allow patients to paint and colour in pictures on screen.

KCHFT’s Specialist Nurse for Dementia Grahame Hardy said: “This software is fantastic and we are seeing the benefits already for our patients so we are really grateful for the League of Friends’ support. It’s interactive and engaging and particularly useful for people with dementia as the activities help to reduce agitation and confusion.

“The programmes can be tailormade to the individual and we can even upload pictures and record voice messages from their loved ones for them to listen to.”

Patient Mick Edmeades, 83 from Sevenoaks, was admitted to the hospital after a stay at Pembury hospital for sepsis. The self-admitted technophobe was not sure about the computer at first, but said: “I don’t have a computer at home but I like RITA and quickly got used to using it. It’s good fun and helps you stay occupied.

“I have been following the exercises on there to help get me back on my feet and I enjoy the goal-scoring football game you can play.”

Ian Philip, from the Sevenoaks League of Friends, said: “We are delighted to provide something innovative, which we feel is of great help to patients in the hospital.”