A baa-rilliant surprise for elderly hospital patients

Patient Mavis Yates with a lamb.
Patient Mavis Yates with a lamb.

Patients at Cavendish Hospital in Buxton got a baa-rilliant surprise after being visited by some little lambs.

The woolly animals were VIP visitors to wards at Newholme Hospital, Bakewell, and Cavendish Hospital, thanks to farmers David and Joanne Bagshaw, from Chelmorton.

The idea first started 12 years ago as a way to help elderly patients reconnect with their rural surroundings while they are in hospital. It is very popular with patients and ward staff alike. As well as being enjoyable, the lambs provide animal-assisted therapy to patients.

This year the lambs visited Riverside Ward at Newholme Hospital as well as Spencer and Fenton Wards at Cavendish Hospital, all run by Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust.

Occupational therapist Lorraine Turner, who arranged the visits, said: “We want to say a big thank-you to farmers David and Joanne who have been such wonderful supporters of the patients and the hospitals.

“The visits are very therapeutic for the patients who hold and talk to the lambs.

“Many of our patients grew up in the countryside around here and being able to hold the lambs is very meaningful.

“For patients with the most severe memory loss caused by dementia we have seen some wonderful spontaneous reactions, which is just lovely to be able to capture in photos for their relatives.”