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Trust distributes activity boxes to help alleviate patient boredom

Image: Colchester Hospitals

Activity boxes are being distributed to virtually all wards and departments at Colchester General Hospital to give patients an opportunity to alleviate boredom.

The nurse-led initiative at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust was designed to inpatient tackle boredom.

Each box contains a variety of activities, including colouring books, word search books, board games, pens, pencils, arts and crafts materials, playing cards and dominoes.

They also include sensory bands – also called “twiddle muffs” – which are knitted hand muffs, sometimes decorated with zips, buttons, beads, ribbons or tassles, which can provide visual and tactile stimulation, comfort and distraction.

The activity boxes are the idea of Steph Baker, Learning Disability Hospital Liaison Nurse Specialist, and were inspired by a patient she supported during a three-month stay in Colchester General Hospital earlier this year.

“This woman had no family or friends and no visitors and got extremely bored, which resulted in her becoming clinically depressed.

“Clearly, some patients are so ill that they are not really up for much activity at all but others, especially those who are getting better, are keen for things to do to fill their time.

“Although I’m a learning disability nurse, these activity boxes will be distributed to all adult wards and virtually all departments, including outpatients, radiology and the clinical decisions unit and can be used by any patient.

“I’m hopeful that they will in a small way help to improve the experience that patients have of our hospitals.”

The trust says they hope to distribute activity boxes to Essex County Hospital and to community hospitals in Clacton, Halstead and Harwich.

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Much of the material for the boxes has been donated by the Community Learning Disability Health Team run by Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.

You can find out how to get involved with the initiative here.