Specialised games console proves great success for dementia patients

Feb 25, 2021


Patients at the Older Adult Mental Health Services based at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital (PEH) are benefiting from an innovative new games console designed specifically for service users with dementia.

The ‘magic table’, known as the Tovertafel, has been used by residents on Roustel Ward at the PEH since it was installed just before Christmas. The console was funded by the Pargiter Trust and the Smile for Georgie Foundation. Applications for Pargiter funds are handled locally by the Guernsey Community Foundation.

The Tovertafel is an innovation table that connects people in the late stage of their dementia journey with each other and with their surroundings, all the while stimulating movement. The games have been developed for this target group and can be played both independently and under supervision. The table has an interactive light projector that responds to hand and arm movements, enabling residents to play with the light and, as a result, increase both movement and stimulation.

The Roustel Ward provides specialist care primarily to individuals who have dementia who present with highly complex needs and behaviours that pose significant challenges.

Stuart Houlihan, ward manager, thanked both funders and said that the Tovertafel has proved a hit with their patients, particularly during this second island lockdown. 

“Wards within the Older Adult Mental Health Services had also started to use it, something we hope will be resumed as soon as it is safe to do so,” he said.

Reverend Linda Le Vasseur, lead Chaplain at the PEH and Oberlands, was the driving force behind this fundraising project.  “When Stuart told me about his wish to have a Tovertafel that Roustel Ward and other dementia patients would be able to use, explaining how beneficial the table would be, I really wanted to help make it happen,” she said.  “My role as a Chaplain is all about supporting people, so helping to fundraise for this equipment was a perfect way to do this. I am delighted with the way it has all come together.”

Jenny Le Prevost, trustee of Smile for Georgie, said; We are sure that this interactive table will help foster a strong relationship between the staff and residents on the Roustel Ward, providing a fun activity that can be shared by all.  It is not only therapeutic but also provides some fun time during family visits.

“Earlier this year, before we went into lockdown, I witnessed children using the magic table with their grandpa and the smile on all of their faces really brought home the importance of the equipment.

Jim Roberts, chief executive of Guernsey Community Foundation, said; “This co-funding project was a perfect fit for Pargiter’s grants programme, which is aimed at helping disadvantaged older people. It’s been wonderful to see how beneficial this piece of equipment has been, not only to patients with dementia, but to other service users within the healthcare system.”