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Dementia-Friendly Dolls Provide Therapeutic Boost

The therapeutic use of lifelike dolls for people with dementia has been gaining traction over recent years, as research shows that dolls or soft toy animals can provide much-needed benefits. The dolls can enhance a patient’s level of engagement by giving them something to nurture, or a renewed sense of purpose. They may also inspire pleasant reminiscence of a time when the patient had young children. Some patients living with dementia find that they simply get enjoyment from holding or being with the doll as a form of comfort. There is evidence to suggest that the use of dolls can be particularly helpful to those with enhanced dementia, improving their wellbeing and ability to communicate, as well as often times leading to an increase in activity levels.

Kelly Ellis, Enhanced Care Team Lead, approached the charity to trial therapy dolls within the Adults & Specialist Rehabilitation Division. The idea was to introduce dolls to patients that staff felt would appreciate having something to nurture, in a bid to improve their wellbeing during their time under BCHC care.

A trial of dolls was funded by BCHC Charity in July 2019, and the results have been fantastic. The project has had a number of positive outcomes including having a calming effect when anxious or upset, agitated or not sleeping. For example, a patient at Willow House was calling out for her children so the Enhanced Care Team asked the patient’s family if they would agree to use of a therapy doll. They were grateful; a family member explained that the patient had previously worked in a children’s nursery and took to the doll immediately. The doll became a constant companion to the patient; they would change the doll’s clothes, walk about and sleep with it and a calming effect was noted. The doll left with the patient when they were discharged.

Thanks to kind donations and fundraising for BCHC Charity, following the success of this trial, further dolls will be provided by the charity to continue this therapeutic process.

Get in Touch

If you have any queries about charitable funds or would like more information about supporting the charity or fundraising, please contact:

Sarah Binks 
Charity Project Manager
Email: 
BCHC.charity@bhamcommunity.nhs.uk 
Tel: 0121 466 7314

Dementia Friendly Dolls
Marion Darby with two of the therapy dolls