Patients attend hospital’s own version of Channel 4's 'Old People's Home for 4-Year-Olds'

Some of the oldest patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust enjoyed a very special Christmas party this week. 

After being inspired by Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’, departments from around the Trust teamed up to host our very own intergenerational Christmas party. The party saw 10 children aged six and seven years old from Laurel Lane primary school come to visit the Albert Ward at St Mary’s Hospital. It is believed to be the first intergenerational scheme to have taken place in a hospital setting.

Together the patients and school children played games, enjoyed some festive snacks, decorated Christmas trees and wrapped presents together.

Interacting with younger people has showed improvements in the older adults' physical abilities, depression scores and levels of activity after spending time with children. It’s also beneficial for the children themselves, who are helped by interacting with older generations and also coming into a hospital environment which they may initially be apprehensive about.

Dr Charlotte Lance, who helped design and organise the event, said: “It was so great to see both the school children and patients interacting and helping each other with the festive activities. We’ve had some great feedback and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

“It was a real team effort between the paediatric, dementia, orthopaedic and trauma teams at the Trust and the RoyaI Central School of Speech and Drama. We all look forward to these parties becoming regular events for our patients.”

Jo James, lead nurse for dementia at the Trust, said: “It was great to see how the patient’s moods were lifted and how they enjoyed playing games and interacting with the children.

“We were really surprised at the positive impact we saw straight away and how some of our quieter patients were really getting involved.”

One of the patients who attended the party, said: “It was a great way to help patients and bring joy to us. It was very well organised and lovingly, thoughtfully prepared.”

To find out more about intergenerational care you can read our latest blog, here: