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Meet RITA: Charity-funded technology improves experience of Covid-19 patients

The hospital experience of patients recovering from Covid-19 at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) has been improved thanks to charity funding.    

A number of digital bedside therapy systems, known as ‘RITAs’, have been introduced at both Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford.  

RITA, which stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities, is a state-of-the-art digital therapy system which allows patients to use apps and games, watch movies, listen to music and view messages from family members as part of their hospital recovery.

The system has been rolled out on Covid-19 wards at both hospitals thanks to a grant from UHNM Charity.

In total, 32 new systems have been introduced on areas including critical care and respiratory wards, joining existing systems already in place across elderly care at both hospitals.  

Rebecca Ferneyhough, Quality Improvement Facilitator at UHNM said: "These latest RITA systems are of great benefit to the experience of patients receiving treatment for Covid-19. Quite often they become distressed with unfamiliar hospital surroundings or whilst receiving treatment, but this new equipment has shown to be effective in calming down the more anxious or agitated patients. They have also been proven to reduce loneliness, isolation and falls."

“With ward visiting currently restricted due to Covid-19, patients and families have benefited from RITA's ability to play video and audio messages. This has also helped patients unable to properly communicate due to their condition or treatment, and the in-built translator has also proved very useful with non-english speakers. There is also the capacity for RITA to diagnose delirium and aid in physical and mental exercise too.”

“RITA has already had a wonderful impact on our elderly patients and it’s thanks to our supporters that UHNM Charity was able to introduce this new equipment in our hospitals. RITA’s library of films, TV, music and games has helped to lift the mood of both patients and staff during these difficult and challenging times.”  - Steve Rushton, UHNM Charity Manager.

If you would like to fundraise for UHNM Charity visit www.uhnmcharity.org.uk for more information, or call 01782 676444 to speak to one of the UHNM Charity team.

About the author

James Wood

Communications, Fundraising and Events Officer at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

Communications specialist with experience working in the public and third sector.

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