DEMENTIA describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is not a natural part of aging, but is caused when the brain is damaged by disease or a series of strokes.
It is estimated that there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and that 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 has dementia.
Each year in our hospitals we care for hundreds of patients with dementia. They will be in hospital for many reasons, but we also need to ensure that we meet any additional needs they have due to their dementia.
To provide a focus to improving care for patients with dementia, the Trust has established the Dementia Project.
Areas the dementia project will be concentrating on during the next year include:
Creating dementia friends, linking with the Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia friends learn a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turn that understanding into action. Anyone of any age can be a dementia friend Identifying dementia champions on each ward
Developing a dementia ‘care bundle’, which is a set of documents that describe the care to be provided
Setting up a carers forum
Ensuring there is high quality staff education, training and support
Jane Gilby has been seconded from her role as a ward manager to be the Trust’s dementia project lead nurse. Jane explains: “We need to ensure that we are providing the best possible care for all of our patients with dementia. There is more we can be doing to tailor our services to meet their needs, and we need all staff to understand their role in this.
“A small number of staff have already been trained by the Alzheimer’s Society as Dementia Friends Champions to deliver awareness sessions to colleagues, and we have identified our first ward dementia champions.”
The dementia project was officially launched with the opening of a new reminiscence room at Basildon Hospital.
The 50’s-themed room includes a kitchen and living room area, old-fashioned furnishings and a TV, giving a familiar background to activities for patients with dementia, for who the hospital environment can seem extremely daunting.
The room’s transformation has been made possible thanks to a generous donation of Â£9,400 from the Basildon Hospital League of Friends.
The donation was part of Â£30,000 given by the League of Friends to enhance care for patients with dementia, which has also funded the refurbishment of Kingswood Ward to make it easier for patients with dementia to orientate themselves during their hospital stay.