Basildon hospital raise awareness in National Dementia Week

BASILDON University Hospital has taken action in support of a national campaign to ensure that patients with dementia can be accompanied on the ward by their carer at all times, just as parents are welcomed to stay with their children.

The trust launched a carer’s passport scheme on Monday (18 May) as the first of a programme of events and activities to mark Dementia Awareness Week.

The passport is part of work being led by Jane Gilby, dementia project lead nurse, to improve care for patients with dementia. It was inspired by a campaign by best-selling author Nicci Gerrard, 56, who writes psychological thrillers under the pen-name Nicci French, and her friend Julia Jones.

Ms Gerrard set up John’s Campaign following the death of her 86-year-old father, who was diagnosed with dementia.

Julia Jones, whose 90-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, was a guest at Basildon University Hospital to support the launch of the carer’s passport, which will initially be distributed to carers on four wards.

The passport identifies the holder as the carer for the patient with dementia, and allows them to stay on the wards outside normal visiting hours. The passport does not always have to be held by the same relative or friend, there may be a rota of people close to the patient who care for them. Carers are given information on the layout of the ward, such as where to find linen, fire exits, washing facilities and kitchens. They are also receive an induction on infection control.

Julia said: “Basildon Hospital is doing outstanding in the work to make things better for patients with dementia and is really leading the field in Essex. With over a quarter of all hospital beds occupied by people with dementia this is an issue that concerns many families and the people they love. Carers need to know that they are welcome and that their contribution to the patient’s well-being can be so important.”

Jane Gilby said: “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.”

Since the trust launched the dementia project at the end of 2014, Jane Gilby and her colleagues at the trust have:

 identified dementia champions on each ward, ensuring all patients with dementia get the best care

 trained more than 420 members of staff, including our Trust Board, to be dementia friends

 continued to develop the use of the reminiscence room on Kingswood ward, enhancing the care we provide to our patients

An afternoon tea was held on Tuesday 19 May, 1 – 4pm with staff available to answer questions about dementia, and information about the support available for people with dementia and their carers.

Singing for the brain session, Sunday 24 May, 4 – 7pm. Singing is an activity people with dementia can enjoy, along with their carers, as even when many memories are hard to retrieve, music is especially easy to recall. Hidden in this social event are activities which build on the well-known preserved memory for song and music in the brain. Light refreshments will be available

Events are being held in the education centre at Basildon University Hospital, Nethermayne, Basildon, Essex, SS16 5NL. For more information please contact Jane Gilby, dementia project lead nurse on 01268 524900 ext 7140.

To find out more about dementia awareness week, see the Alzheimer’s Society website www.alzheimers.org.uk

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