Sewers needed to stitch solutions for dementia patients

With These Hands sewing group volunteers Kathy Van Oeverenm, Janice Ralston, Margaret Issanchon and Gail Johnson.

Blacktown Hospital’s dementia team are on the hunt for savvy sewers for a new group devoted to stitching up fiddle cuffs and sensory mats for patients.

Designed to meet the growing demand for the fiddle gear, the sewing group With These Hands will meet monthly to stitch as many fiddle cuffs, aprons and mats as possible.

They’ll also be working on items for cancer services including patient belonging bags, bags for support equipment for outpatient cancer services and items for palliative care.

The fiddle equipment, made from scrap material and other fabric bits like bells, buckles, zippers and velcro, offer sensory simulation to dementia patients who may be agitated or anxious during their hospital stay.

The mats and aprons are distributed to patients to keep their hands busy, while the fiddle cuffs are placed on a patient’s arm to stop them from trying to remove their cannulas and catheters.

Blacktown Hospital clinical nurse consultant (dementia and delirium) Katie Conciatore is the brain-child behind the hospital’s “fiddle revolution”, having spent many hours sewing mats and cuffs.

She and colleague Amanda Nowak have seen the demand for the gear grow and are now reaching out to keen sewers for help.

“The mats and cuffs have been so popular but due to infection control, they can only be used by one person so we go through them pretty fast,” she said.

“The sewing group is our way of creating a community of crafty people to give us a hand.”

With These Hands will meet monthly at the hospital’s aged care meeting and group activity room.

Tea and coffee will be provided at each meeting.

To join the group or to donate material, contact Katie Conciatore on katie.conciatore@health.nsw.gov.au or 0427 480 681 or Amanda Nowak on amanda.nowak@health.nsw.gov.au

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