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Bury St Edmunds: New measures to help patients with dementia

16:20 27 August 2014

Dementia trainer Maggie Woodhouse and assistant practitioner Joanne Hayward

Dementia trainer Maggie Woodhouse and assistant practitioner Joanne Hayward

Andy Abbott

Being admitted to hospital can be a frightening and disorientating experience for anyone - but for a person with dementia, the difficulty is multiplied.

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On top of the reason for the admission, the hospital environment can exasperate the symptoms of dementia.

So at West Suffolk Hospital, which is currently working with the East Anglian Daily Times on the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign, a number of initiatives are being
introduced to make hospital stays better for people with cognitive problems.

The first of these is the ‘This is Me’ leaflet filled in by the patient’s family. Dementia practitioner Maggie Woodhouse, who is at the helm of the new measures, said: “The person may not understand why they are there; they may find the ward busy, loud and unfamiliar.

“‘This is Me’ contains information about the person such as likes, dislikes, family and work
history, which helps the staff to deliver personalised care to the patient.”

The Forget-Me-Not flower is also being displayed above the beds of patients who have been diagnosed with dementia as a symbol to remind the ward staff to adapt their communication and approach, such as allowing more response time. In addition, the hospital is introducing a blue wristband that highlights to staff that the patient has a diagnosis of dementia.

Ms Woodhouse added: “This is particularly useful for staff who may not work directly with the patient such as porters, housekeeping or X-ray staff.

“If you have a relative coming into hospital, either planned or if it is an emergency admittance, please tell the staff on the ward that the person has dementia so we can support the patient with the use of these tools.”

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