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A donation for dementia

Several colourful, crocheted octopuses have kindly been made and donated to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s Dementia Ward.

The popular eight legged crocheted animal are made to help patients living with dementia, who are admitted to hospital. Their bright colours and texture provide comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Having something to hold and twiddle can have a calming effect, whilst providing a welcome distraction for busy minds as fidgety fingers explore the different textures and colours. The octopuses also help reduce anxiety, especially when there is a lot going on around the patients.

Jan from Octopus for Preemie UK with crocheted octopuses

However, the octopuses not only benefit dementia patients, they can also be used to help comfort premature babies. The material is made to feel like their mother’s umbilical cord. They are known to comfort the baby and distract them from pulling any medical equipment that is attached to them.

The registered charity, Octopus for a Preemie UK, started supplying the crocheted gifts to another hospital down in the South of England. Three and a half years later, the registered charity now supply to more than 115 hospital Trusts on a monthly basis, including Wigan Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.

Angela Wane, who works as a coordinator for the registered charity, said, “Our volunteers have been making octopuses for WWL Neonatal for the last three years now, however the charity made the decision to start giving them to patients living with dementia.”

“I have been hand delivering them to Astley and Aspull Ward for nearly five months now and the feedback has been really positive.”

The group have donated a couple of times and have had good feedback from both patients and staff on the specialised dementia ward. 

Debbie Latimer, Ward Clerk on Astley Ward at Wigan RAEI has been liaising with Angela about bringing them into the hospital.

“Since discovering Octopuses for Preemie UK, they have been amazing with us. We all really appreciate what they do and we can see a real benefit from our patients.”