Introducing RITA, the virtual staff member at Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s ICU

Intensive care patients at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are getting a helping hand on the road to recovery, thanks to a virtual staff member called RITA.

Monday, 14th March 2022, 11:40 am

Funding from NHS Forth Valley’s Organ Donation Committee has led to the new piece of equipment which allows patients to play games, watch films, listen to music and participate in other leisure activities as part of their recovery.

Known as RITA - Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities - the software therapy system has been used in the past to support care of patients with dementia.

But, it is also useful for other patients, including people with delirium.

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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.

Most patients listen to a music mix, watch films and use the touch screen to follow simple exercise routines.

Dr Helen Tyler, consultant in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine, and NHS Forth Valley’s clinical lead for organ donation, explained: “If patients are able to participate in activities then they can join in rehabilitation exercise sessions or play games that promote group participation, co-ordination and, most of all, have a few laughs.”

Susan Barclay, senior charge nurse for the Intensive Care Unit,, said RITA was also making a difference.

She added: “Being in a Covid-19 area can be isolating for patients, especially with visitor restrictions so ‘chatting’ with RITA gave them an hour’s respite.

“RITA is very much more than just a tablet or piece of software as it can really help brighten a patient’s day.”

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