RITA lends a Helping Hand

Meet RITA, our virtual staff member, who is now lending a helping hand to patients in Unit 5 at Falkirk Community Hospital.

The new piece of equipment allows patients to play bingo, watch films, listen to music and participate in other leisure activities as part of their recovery.

Known as Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities (RITA), the software therapy system has been used to support the care of patients with dementia however, it is also useful for other patients, including people with delirium.

The system enables patients and staff to access a range of interactive activities and resources designed to engage and focus patients, whilst drawing on familiar and comforting sensory experiences.

Studies show RITA can shorten the length of stay, reduce the need for anti-psychotic and sleeping medication as well as improve a person’s nutrition, hydration and mood.

Elaine Kettings, Chief Nurse for the Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, said a daily exercise class programmed on RITA is hugely successful. She explained: “The patients all enjoy participating in this class very much and we have seen increased concentration and lots of smiling.

“They also have more bingo games as RITA can act as the caller, freeing up more staff time to help patients and encourage them to find the numbers. This has led to increased requests for a game of bingo when RITA asks, “what would you like?” RITA also can find any song a patient mentions which has resulted in many spontaneous singalongs in the Unit. RITA is very much more than just a tablet or piece of software as it can really help brighten a patient’s day.”

RITA has also been used in the Intensive Care Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to help patients participate in rehabilitation exercise sessions or play games that promote group participation, co-ordination and, most of all, have fun. Patients can also use RITA to listen to music and watch films.