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#knitamitt for patients with dementia

Senior nurses at Poole Hospital are urging keen knitters to make and send in special ‘memory mitts’ to support the care of patients with dementia in hospital.

Memory mitts provide something patients can hold and ‘twiddle’, helping to reduce anxiety and promote calm.

The mitts are simple knitted cuffs, to which a range of items, including ribbons, buttons or beads, can be sown and which provide activity for patients.

Kate Jones, dementia nurse specialist at the hospital (pictured on the left with Lynsey Paul, associate dementia nurse specialist), says that whilst a simple idea, they can directly improve a patient’s time in hospital.

memory mitts

“Having something to hold and ‘twiddle’ can have a calming effect on a person with dementia,” she said.

“The textures, the added accessories, and warmth of the memory mitts provide stimulation and can help improve the experience people with dementia have in hospital.

“They are an excellent way to help to combat the restlessness and agitation that a patient with dementia may experience.

“The pattern is very simple and is perfect for using up left over and odd balls of wool - different textures also promote stimulation.

“We would like as many people are possible to put their knitting know-how to good use.”

To support good infection control practice, each mitt can only be used by one patient, so as many as possible are needed.

Kate’s keen to promote the memory mitts project on social media too, and is encouraging as many people and organisations as possible to either share pictures of their creations or spread the word using the hashtag #knitamitt

Finished mitts should be sent to: Memory mitts, Room K4 12a, Stroke Rehab Unit, Poole Hospital, Longfleet Road, Poole BH15 2JB, or left at the hospital’s main reception.

The memory mitt project is part of a range of initiatives for patients with dementia at Poole Hospital.

How to knit a memory mitt

memory mitts


Needles: 6.5mm straight needles or 8mm circular

Beads, zips, ribbons, anything that can be ‘twiddled’ but will not break, be sharp to touch or brittle.



Cuff cast on 40 stitches using 2 strands of double knitting wool. You can also use 1 strand of chunky wool

Work in stocking stitch (knit a line, purl a line) for 11 inches (28cm)

Continue with stocking stitch and use up any oddments of various textures of wool. For example: chunky, mohair, snuggly, Eskimo, ribbon and chenille

Knit unit work measures 23 inches (58.5cm)

Cast off.



Neatly sew the long edges together with purl side facing you

Turn the mitt inside out

Push the cuff up inside the mitt body and neatly sew together the two short ends

Now it’s time to decorate your memory mitt. Here are a few things to consider: choose a good variety of decorations, such as beads, and colours

Include bits and bobs on the inside too. Agitated hands can then be soothed and kept warm at the same time.

Try to include at least six decorations on the outside and four on the inside. You can add more if you like

Make sure everything is sewn on tight so it cannot be pulled off, and that there are no loose threads.


Completed memory mitts should be sent to:

Memory mitts

Dementia team

Stroke rehabilitation ward

Room K4 12a

Poole Hospital

Longfleet Road


BH15 2JB


Alternatively drop them in at main reception off Longfleet Road.

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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