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Chaplains’ ‘book of memories’ shortlisted for NHS award

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A book of memories designed by hospital chaplains to stimulate people suffering from dementia is in the running for a prestigious award.

Titled, “Memories Are Made Of This”  the book of pictures, songs and hymns from years gone by has proved a huge success in inspiring and stimulating patients and has become an important resource for health care staff and relatives.

Produced by the Spiritual Care team  at Cwm Taf University Health Board two years ago, it has now been short-listed for the NHS Wales Awards which take place on July 15.

Lead Chaplain, the Revd Eleanor Powell, said the book aimed to help people with dementia feel safe while in the unfamiliar environment of hospital.  She said, “The images, songs and hymns in the book were chosen to reflect the experience of people living and working in the Welsh Valleys during the 1930s,40s and 50s.

“It is unashamedly a spiritual resource as the sacred and the secular are mixed together, to lift the spirit of those who turn its pages and share together memories which come alive through conversation and song. Not only does it provide a means of reconnecting people with their spiritual heritage, but also enhances their personal wellbeing as they cherish memories that still hold meaning for them today.

“We are delighted to have been nominated for this Award and hope that as many people as possible will benefit from this book.”

The idea for the book came about as hospital chaplains struggled to find material in hospitals to stimulate people with dementia or reflect their age, lifestyle and culture. Often the only material available were modern magazines, celebrity focussed and aimed at a younger readership, or a TV screen playing old movies.

“The idea is easily adaptable for cultural contexts different from the Welsh Valleys,” says Ms Powell. “All it needs is someone with some time to gather photographs, images, songs and hymns relevant to the population it serves.”

Memories bookMemories Are Made Of This is shortlisted for the Improving Quality Through Better Use Of Resources category in the NHS Wales Awards.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony in Cardiff on July 15, 2015.
Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford said that the standard of entries demonstrated the professionalism, dedication and skill of NHS Wales staff.

He said, “The annual awards are a chance to celebrate excellence. The high quality of entries demonstrate that across NHS Wales teams are striving to improve the service they provide to patients in hospital and in the community. They reflect the commitment of our staff to provide safe, efficient and compassionate care.

“I am always impressed by the huge range of talent on display in the projects which have been entered into and shortlisted for an NHS Wales Award; the innovative practice pioneered by staff working across Wales will change our NHS for the better. I would like to thank everyone who entered and wish all the finalists the best of luck.”

More than 160 entries were received from across Wales and the judging panel of NHS experts had the tough task of selecting the finalists in the eight award categories.