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The positive impact of a book in mental health and dementia

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in News, Recovery and wellbeing on 3rd March, 2021

Patients at Franklyn Hospital have responded so well to a trial delivery of books that the Libraries Unlimited community outreach initiative is now a permanent fixture.

Zoe Fisher, Occupational Therapy Assistant on Belvedere has promoted and implemented in both wards (Rougemont and Belvedere) this project that started in the summer of 2020.

Exeter Library wanted to bring books out to more locations within the community. The library contacted the hospital to see if they would be interested in a delivery of books. Twenty books were given to each ward, chosen around the interests of the patients who were resident there at the time. The topics included farming, gardening, antiques, wildlife, 80s films, 60s music, cars and animals. Large print and picture books were popular as many patients have difficulties with their sight. The first consignment was such a hit, the hospital requested more, and the books are now changed on a regular basis, with different titles and subjects tailored to new patients.

Jo Lawrence, Senior Supervisor, Resources and Information at Exeter Library, said: “We are delighted that we are able to bring our resources to those who would otherwise not be able to visit the library. We understand the importance of books and reading for the mental wellbeing, development and recovery of the residents of Franklyn Hospital and will use this successful project as a template to work with other organisations and services."

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