WORKING TOWARDS DEMENTIA FRIENDLY HOSPITAL SURROUNDINGS
THE Western Trust has joined a national campaign which supports the rights of carers to stay with patients with dementia in hospital and care homes.
John’s Campaign was founded after the death of Dr John Gerrard in November 2014 who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his mid-70s but with the support of his family he had a good quality of life living at home.
After a hospital admission for a leg ulcer at the age of 86, Dr Gerrard experienced a severe decline in his wellbeing – attributed in part to the restrictions applied to visits from his family.
Around 350 hospitals across the UK have since joined the campaign, and the Western Trust is delighted to be involved.
The number of people in Northern Ireland with dementia is steadily increasing. In recent years it has been estimated that 19,765 people are living with dementia in Northern Ireland, and with this figure set to increase to 60,000 by the year 2051.
Based on the most recent figures from the Alzheimer’s Society there are 2,830 people estimated to have dementia living in the Western Trust area.
Welcoming the Western Trust’s support to the John’s Campaign; Alan Corry Finn, Western Trust Director of Primary Care and Older People said:
“The Western Trust recognises that admission to hospital and residential settings for people with dementia can be distressing and cause increased confusion, when they are in unfamiliar surroundings with people they don’t know.
“Family members and carers are experts in looking after their relatives and are greatly aware of their likes and dislikes and patients are comforted by the presence and familiarity of the people they know.
“Carer’s involvement is crucial in providing support and comfort to their loved ones during their time in hospital.”
Alan added: “The Western Trust is fully committed to improving the care for this group of very vulnerable patients and their families and is delighted to support and promote John’s campaign.
“Staff will continue to work closely with families and carers to make the stay in hospital or residential home as good an experience as possible, and warmly welcome families to stay with their relative when they need them most.”
Majella Magee, Western Trust Assistant Services Manager, Older Peoples Mental Health explains:
“The Trust registered this year with the Dementia Friendly Communities Initiative and committed to making Altnagelvin Hospital Dementia Friendly.
“It is the first hospital in Northern Ireland to do so.
“A number of initiatives are underway including staff training, awareness raising activities, recruitment of dementia volunteers, dementia design audits and physical improvements to make the hospital environment more dementia friendly.
!Signing up to John’s campaign and welcoming carers onto the wards to provide care, support and reassurance to their loved ones with dementia is enhancing this work.
“A number of our areas have already implemented open visiting for dementia patients, particularly those wards implementing the dementia purple toolkit.
“We will be working with our staff and carers to ensure that the John’s campaign is supported in all hospitals and care homes in the Western Trust area.”