Frimley Health Charity launches appeal to transform the hospital experience for dementia patients
A new appeal launched by Frimley Health Charity will transform the level of care dementia patients receive during their stay in hospital. The charity appeal aims to raise £1.1 million by 2023 to fund a range of projects across the Frimley Health Foundation Trust hospitals, so that dementia patients in the region will receive the best possible clinical and holistic care.
Ablen Dacalos, Lead Dementia Nurse, Frimley Health Foundation Trust said:
“People living with dementia are highly vulnerable within the hospital setting. It can be a disorientating and frightening experience which is why some people’s health worsens during admission. At any one time, up to half of all UK hospital beds are occupied by a person living with dementia – all at different stages with individual needs.
“It is a huge challenge for acute hospitals – but with the right changes to the environment and specialist staff training we can really help patients to feel more comfortable during their stay. Patient safety is paramount across all of our hospitals but with dementia patients it is not just about keeping them safe but ensuring they feel safe.”
Research by several dementia organisations, such as Alzheimers UK, have demonstrated that relatively inexpensive interventions, such as changes to lighting, floor coverings and improved wayfinding, can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of patients. Environmental improvements also have a positive effect on reducing falls and violent and aggressive behaviours.
There are many misconceptions about dementia. The most common is that it takes away people’s memories. The brain might lose the ability to access them but the memories are still there. Dementia is not strange. Those that suffer simply find a new way to communicate when it becomes harder to find the right words and process what others are saying. Dementia is often misunderstood. And we all need to learn different techniques to communicate better to those people and families living with dementia.
We want to lead the way in acute hospital care. Now you can support us in our vision – to set the national standard for excellence in patient safety, quality and continuous improvement for people living with dementia.
Dementia is not strange. Those that suffer, find a new way to communicate. Dementia can’t take away their memories; they lose the ability to access them. Just some of the abilities lost by Dementia sufferers is to read, see colours and to block out sound. A ticking clock can seem like a ‘bang’ every second. Replace this clock with a Dementia friendly clock and sleep patterns will immediately improve.
Patients coming in to hospital may be scared, confused, intimidated- waiting for a purpose, an instruction. Staff trained to understand this will communicate in way that will ease and calm the person giving trust. Simple training can achieve this. A healthy brain controls every aspect of your life. A brain has a purpose when you wake up-this is stripped of its purpose with Dementia. Activities will give them so much and staff a better way to treat and diagnose each individual case.
Older person’s team at Wexham Park Hospital
The Frimley Health Charity Appeal will help to provide these vital design changes, funding everything from digital screens and dementia clocks, to sensory equipment and brand new outdoor spaces. The appeal will also support more staff resource to ensure dementia patients receive the specialist support they need. New activity co-ordinators will be brought in on the wards and a range of specialist training given to staff across the Trust.
Andrew House, Director, Frimley Health Charity said:
“Many of these changes are not expensive on their own but when multiplied across all the wards in our hospitals the cost is substantial. We want to fund improvements in the hospital environment for patients and their families, as well as increase specialist staff resource and staff training.
“Our aim is to set the national standard for excellence in patient safety, quality and continuous improvement for people with dementia. Our wonderful dementia team work tirelessly to ensure dementia patients feel at ease during their hospital stay, we want to do everything possible to support their plight and help them lead the way in future dementia care.”