Dementia patients of the Welsh Ambulance Service to benefit from dementia cannula sleeves

12th November 2019

The Welsh Ambulance Service has received its first dementia cannula sleeves, devised and made by volunteers at Handmade for Dementia. The sleeves have proven to keep dementia patients calm and stop them from pulling needles out of their arms during treatment.

Ambulance staff on both emergency and non-emergency services will be using them when they are out on the road treating patients. It is the first time that the Trust will be using such objects to care for our patients.

During the mid to late stages of dementia, a person can become very anxious and fidgety. Having a cannula sleeve knitted with different wools, with different textures and ‘twiddle’ detail, has proven to make a difference in keeping patients calm.

Each sleeve is knitted following a copyrighted pattern and are individually risk-assessed before being donated to NHS Trusts across the UK.

Alison Johnstone, Dementia Manager at the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “Donations of such innovative items enable us to support our patients and provide person centred-care to people living with dementia.

“We cannot thank Handmade for Dementia enough for providing us with their dementia cannula sleeves as these will improve the experiences of people living with dementia at times of anxiety.

“As we’ve learned, it’s not necessarily the facts of the experience a person with dementia will retain, but the emotion, and these will go a long way to improving the emotional experience of using our service.”

Sharon (Wallace) Holdstock founded Handmade for Dementia in 2016 and started by recruiting a knitter to make ‘twiddle mits’ before moving on to devising and making dementia cannula sleeves following the suggestion of retired District Nurse, Eileen Copeland.

The group, which today has more than 5,000 members has knitted close to 8,000 cannula sleeves since January 2018.

Sharon Holdstock, founder of Handmade for Dementia said: “I am thrilled that our dementia cannula sleeves are making such a difference to people affected by dementia across the UK, saving the NHS thousands of pounds.

“After having sent thousands of sleeves to hospitals, now collaborating with the Welsh Ambulance Service is really exciting for us.  We hope that that result of our work will prove to be just as efficient on the road as it is in hospitals.”

Everyone can join Handmade for Dementia as long as they can knit. To do so, they must first join the group’s Facebook Page. If you would like to do so, head to -

The Welsh Ambulance Service hopes to develop its partnership with Handmade for Dementia in the months and years to come.

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