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Welsh Ambulance Service Dementia Team wins Gold

THE Welsh Ambulance Service Dementia Team has won a coveted award.

The Trust’s Dementia Team were named the winner of the most innovative use of Reminiscence Therapy Interactive Activities (RITA) for 2022 at the RITA User Group Conference and Awards.

RITA is an interactive touch screen tablet that blends entertainment with therapy.

It assists patients in recalling and sharing events from their past through listening to music, watching news reports of significant historical events, listening to war-time speeches, playing games and karaoke, watching old films, TV shows, sporting events, and viewing old photographs.

The Trust is piloting 20 tablets in all areas of Wales to help people living with dementia, who may become overwhelmed to have a better experience while being transported on our emergency ambulances to hospital.

Alison Johnstone, Programme Manager for Dementia, said: "We are delighted to be piloting reminiscence therapy for people living with dementia who are using our services.

"We know that people living with dementia can have a stressful time when in our care, which can result in agitation and aggression.

“Research suggests that reminiscence therapy and distraction can support people to overcome distress and anxiety."

This work is connected to the Trust’s dementia and sensory friendly ambulance programme, which involves creating more optimal environments for those living with dementia, including exploring solutions to sensory challenges such as noise, colour and lighting.

Mike Hamilton, from My Improvement Network which created RITA, said: “We are thrilled to be working with the Welsh Ambulance Service to introduce RITA into the service.

"It is well documented that more complex patients such as those living with dementia who are admitted into hospital arrive very anxious and distressed.

"These patients are susceptible to stress, agitation and in many cases delirium, therefore, innovative solutions such as RITA are needed to ensure that their needs are met in a patient-centred way whilst keeping them calm, informed, stimulated and distracted on the way to hospital.

"RITA has been evidenced to significantly reduce incidences of challenging behaviour and safeguarding incidents such as falls by offering appropriate therapeutic distraction.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service is recognised as a Dementia Friendly Organisation by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Wendy Herbert, Assistant Director of Quality and Nursing said: "This innovative digital technology will allow us to better support our patients who live with dementia in what can be a stressful and disorientating time for them and their carers.

"We hope that by offering reminiscence therapy, dementia patients will have opportunities for distraction and memory-based activities which supports person centred care.”

If you want to learn more about the Welsh Ambulance Service’s dementia work, please contact the Dementia Team on

Editors Notes

My Improvement Network, over the past 15 years have worked across the full spectrum of Health and Social Care and have built up an extensive network of care professionals and clinicians, who have contributed to the ongoing development and improvement of the RITA technology. For more information click here:

For more information, email Communications Officer Beth Eales at or call Beth on 07870 383209