Improving dementia care

Posted: September 27, 2012

Trust launches Dementia Champions campaign

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new initiative which aims to help increase the early diagnosis of dementia.

We have launched a campaign to raise staff awareness of dementia and appealing for more staff to become Dementia Champions, who will become a point of contact and a source of advice for other staff, volunteers and carers. Any member of staff can become a Dementia Champion and they don't need to have a medical background.

Rob Nicholls, Deputy Chief Nurse, is leading the campaign. He said: "Dementia Champions will have a greater insight into how to care for people with dementia and as such provide advice and support to others.

"Up to 70% of hospital beds are occupied by patients over the age of 65 and many of our patients and visitors have dementia. Whatever your role, a little extra thought, patience and a small act of kindness, can make a huge difference. It could just be helping someone find where they need to be."

Changes have also been made to some of the wards at Great Western Hospital which includes discreet systems to make sure staff are aware which patients have dementia and may need special support. Adaptations have also been made to bathrooms to make them more accessible and easy to use.

Wendy Johnson, senior sister for coronary care and Dementia Champion, said: "Often people with dementia can have problems with height or seeing things properly - they may see a step when there isn't one - so we've made adaptations to reduce the risk of falls. We've also installed more clocks on wards as dementia patients often have difficulty in distinguishing between day and night." 

Phaedra Neal, of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We're delighted that Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is taking positive steps towards improving the quality of care for people with dementia. All too often for a person affected by dementia, being in hospital can be confusing and unsettling and cause a deterioration in their condition. As well as improving the experience, person-centred care can also shorten the hospital stay and improve outcomes for the patient."

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