A NEW scheme to help patients with dementia has put out an urgent call for knitters.

The project aims to supply creations called 'twiddle muffs' - knitted bands with trimmings of ribbons, beads, buttons and zips - to patients.

It is being organised by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke's Hospital.

Lead dementia nurse Danielle Woods said: "The twiddle muff, or cuff, was designed to help combat restlessness and agitation in dementia patients by keeping their hands busy as well as stimulating the mind.

"The soft material muffs contain strands of textured ribbons, beads and various fabrics attached both inside and outside, and can be costly if ordered from the internet so we are hoping that volunteers will come forward to put their knitting skills to good use."

The scheme has been so successful in the past few weeks that already nurses are down to their last supplies - so they are urging the Bradford public to grab their knitting needles to make more twiddle muffs so they can keep up with demand.

Mrs Woods said: "Up to a quarter of our patients at any one time will have a form of dementia and the number is growing.

"With an aging population here in Bradford, we are seeing more and more people with dementia as more people are living for longer, so we want to make our hospitals, services and environments as dementia-friendly as possible."

Meanwhile, the Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust has just missed out on a top national award which it was shortlisted following its £510,000 makeover of the dementia ward at St Luke's Hospital.

The refurbishment team was in the running for the 2014 Building Better Healthcare award for the best internal environment project - but the prize went to Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Project lead and head of patient experience Shelley Bailey said: "It was an honour and privilege to be shortlisted for these prestigious awards. Being nominated has strengthened our commitment to continually upgrade our hospitals so that we can enhance the patient experience and improve our facilities for patients living well with dementia in Bradford."

The nationally acclaimed Enhancing the Healing Environment project at St Luke's, called Yorkshire at its Best, transformed public areas at the hospital in Little Horton Lane and was the first refurbishment of its kind for patients with dementia in an NHS hospital.

To become a twiddle muff knitter, e-mail: Danielle.woods@bthft.nhs.uk