Publish date: 16 August 2022

Patients living with dementia in Tameside and Glossop are being transported through space and time thanks to a new virtual reality service – that is allowing them to visit busy city streets, take a trip to the launderette or even pop down the local pub.

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has invested in RemPods, a unique service which transforms clinical environments into therapeutic and reminiscent spaces, helping to change the quality of life for people living with memory loss. Following on from the popularity of the first RemPod last year, the Stamford Unit at Tameside Hospital has recently acquired a virtual pub for their residents to enjoy. The virtual pub includes a bar along with tables and chairs where patients can get together and reminisce.

There are interactive screens on every floor of the Trust’s Stamford Unit, helping dementia patients by creating social areas to relieve boredom and depression and allow interaction which helps with improving mental wellbeing. These include the virtual pub as well as an interactive launderette where patients can open a washing machine, put in clothes and experience the smell of freshly washed laundry, a car that transports patients around busy town streets and quiet country roads, and an incredible interactive steam train carriage that takes people with dementia back in time and on a journey through the local landscape - complete with the smells and sounds of bygone times.

It's all thanks to money donated by the inspirational Captain Sir Tom Moore and patients and families to the Trust’s Charity as well as investments by Dragon’s Den superstars Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones that the Trust has been able to invest in RemPods.

Stephen Davies, Clinical Rehabilitation Pathway Lead on the Stamford Unit, said, “It is great to see how the patients respond to the RemPods we have in the Stamford Unit.  The RemPods generate all sorts of reactions in the patients, giving them a more stimulating and pleasurable experience whilst in the unit. The new pub complements a laundrette, a train carriage and a car and helps patients in the unit interact and socialise with each other. The pub creates a buzz, people can come and sit, chat and recollect, they respond to the familiar decor, sights and sounds of the virtual pub.”

Trust Chief Executive Karen James OBE says, “The RemPods have proved to be really popular with our patients on the Stamford Unit, helping them reconnect with everyday sights and sounds. We are so grateful for the money raise by Captain Sir Tom Moore and the Trust’s Charitable Funds as well as the support of the Dragon’s Den team, particularly Deborah Meaden who has sent messages of support and encouragement to our staff."