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"Revolutionising Dementia and residential Care in Mid & South Essex: The Impact of the Happiness Programme on Residents and Care Teams"

In 2020 Mid and South Essex CCG funded the implementation of the happiness programme in care homes and community hospitals in Mid Essex. The project was made possible by a grant received from NHS Charities Together and Captain Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising.

Mid and South Essex CCGs purchased three interactive projectors as part of a pilot of the Happiness Programme, used in care homes and community settings across mid and South Essex. The Happiness Programme’s 3600 projectors beam light onto a surface and allow people to move through the light, changing and moving the images. They can also interact with a wide variety of music, pictures, activities and games while using the projector.

The Happiness Programme

The light projectors are part of the Happiness Programme, a service that combines this technology with training and support to help empower care teams to deliver best-in-class activities and personalised care. The company behind the programme, Social-Ability, loaned a number of their projectors to Brentwood Community Hospital during the pandemic, to help provide enrichment activities to residents who were unable to go out or meet with their families. The projectors were so successful that the CCGs (part of the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership) then decided to roll-out nearly 30 Happiness Programmes and implement them across their care homes and hospitals.

A Positive Impact in Care Settings

The implementation of the light projectors has had a hugely positive impact on the residents in care homes and community hospitals in Mid Essex. 

They have seen a reduction in falls, PRN medication use and improvements in nutrition, hydration and physical, social and cognitive engagement. Social-Ability have also seen improvements across the UK including weight gain with residents by using the programme as a stimulating activity before meal-times.

Sachin D. Jeeneea, Nursing Associate at Brentwood Community Hospital, which is run by NELFT, said: ‘Lockdown was very stressful for those in our care as their normal routines were disrupted, leaving them anxious and upset. Our staff are always trying to provide activities that help lift spirits and enrich our patient’s day-to-day lives, therefore being able to use the Happiness Programme has been fantastic. The reaction of our patients as they interact with the staff, has been wonderful. It really has been a joy to watch.’

“Bringing Friends and Family Together 

The Happiness Programme also provides a whole-body approach to communication, using interactive projected images to provide a catalyst for conversation and interaction that can bring friends and family together. It also provides reporting and information about a person’s interactions, helping to improve and personalise the activities, as well as enabling staff to demonstrate an individual’s progress to families, management and to evidence the impact the Programme is having to the CQC.

The roll-out of the Happiness Programme across Mid Essex care homes and community hospitals is one of a number of projects currently being undertaken to support people going into hospital or living in care settings with dementia. The implementation of interactive light projectors has brought joy and enrichment to the lives of residents and has been met with positive feedback from care teams. The Mid and South Essex Hospitals Charity and ICB are delighted to support this initiative and hopes that many patients can benefit from and enjoy this fantastic new service.


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