Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


The Funding will be used for a project using the innovative interactive My Life Reminiscence Therapy software programme to engage our elderly patients on Wards 34 + 43 at Countess of Chester Hospital. It is felt that therapy of this nature is powerful + effective particularly for a person with memory problems and their family – facilitating greater interaction, engagement and participation.

Many of these patients can stay for up to 3 months. This is a very long time by anyone's standards and many struggle with isolation + loneliness which have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. In addition to what they are being treated for many of these elderly patients also have Dementia and struggle with mood + challenging behaviour. The physical recovering process, unfamiliarity of surroundings, routines and people - exacerbate confusion for such patients and cause them to become very agitated. Some patients don't have family that can visit them and those that do often find it difficult to engage with their loved one.
Our Countess Care of the Elderly project will enable us to address these issues as it offers a range of interactive and engaging programmes for patient group work and 1 to 1 work including reminiscence + life story work that has been clinically proven to enhance mood and the wellbeing of patients, and to improve patients' overall experience. Evidence suggests that a patient's family visit for longer when the My Life Programme is accessible + that visits are more meaningful for both parties, and last longer.

The project will be delivered by a team of volunteers, thereby providing rewarding volunteering opportunities for people who want to give something back to the community. Volunteers will be trained in using the specialist interactive programme and in Dementia Awareness - improving their own life skills and their capacity within the community. Family and friends will have the opportunity to be trained by the volunteers to enable them to help deliver the project too. The Life Story software allows loved ones to engage with their family member with personal photographs and images. When it becomes appropriate family members will be able to have the book printed off in hard copy - forming a representation of the journey of their loved one.
By voting for our project you will be helping to support a higher quality of care for elderly patients in our region which has a higher than the national average ageing population.
Approximately 1500 patients, volunteers and families will benefit from this project which will also provide a legacy for future development in this important area of care.

As demonstrated there will be many benefits from our project - other important outcomes will include the facilitation of a support network where staff, families, carers and the volunteers can come together to help tackle issues and to help relieve the strain that Dementia for example, which is a terminal disease, is having on society. Many family members caring for people with Dementia are senior citizens and frail themselves with their own mental and physical health needs. Colleague Danielle Woods a Dementia Project Manager stated: "The software has brought patients together that would normally stare at one another from across the room." We also know that Life Story Book work in particular is lifting the mood of patients and reducing the need for, or levels of, prescribed medication.

Dr Greeves a Dementia Champion pointed out: "Dementia is a common problem that is going to get worse as the population ages - it is expected that the amount of cases over the next 20 years is going to double...The My Life Therapy is a wonderful therapy that I would recommend to all."

Our project has been carefully developed through research, software trials + consultation. Some of the consultation has been with Bradford Teaching Hospitals which like the Countess is helping to lead the way in Dementia care.

Project Video

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Charitable Funds

Moment of Pride

The Countess Hospital Charity raises funds each year to enhance and improve facilities for the benefit of patients. The hospital Specialist Dementia Care Nurse is leading on Dementia care in the region + this invaluable project for elderly patients forms a part of this ground breaking work.

Location: Chester