Creating dementia-friendly wards with NCH&C's Charitable Fund
NCH&C’s Charitable Fund provides equipment and services that go above and beyond what’s possible through the standard NHS funding. This includes improving facilities for both NCH&C staff and patients.
One of the ways Charitable Fund donations have been used is through the creation of dementia-friendly wards.
Dementia is a long-term condition that affects the brain. Patients experience symptoms such as memory loss, difficulties in thinking and cognition, and altered behaviour. Each person will experience dementia differently, but all require support and compassionate care. NCH&C understand that dementia can be confusing for patients, their family and carers, and aims to make every interaction with staff a positive experience.
NCH&C has a three-year Dementia Strategy where the trust aims to be “dementia friendly” by 2022. To help the trust achieve this, the Charitable Fund paid for 20 members of staff to complete Tier Three Dementia Champions training in 2018/19. The training was delivered by a Dementia UK Consultant and involved 12 days of training for each member of staff, including follow up assessments and guidance. The trained Dementia Champions support staff in the trust and help embed the most appropriate care and support to a vulnerable group of patients in the community and in-patient units. They are updated with new guidance as it is published.
Following on from the success of the first Champions, a second cohort were trained in 2019/20, ensuring that more geographical areas have staff with the appropriate training to support patients with dementia, and their carers. Staff that have completed the dementia training from their peers were provided with Dementia Champion badges to enable staff, patients, and families to know who they could speak to for specialist support.
In order to keep up with the latest developments, staff have attended the national Dementia Conference in December 2019 to upskill and disperse the new information amongst their colleagues.
Alongside training staff to provide the best care, the charity has purchased items to make life a little easier for in-patients with dementia. At Kelling Hospital, dementia-friendly cutlery and crockery have been bought. These bright red eating utensils stand out for patients and allow them to see their food more clearly helping them improve their nutritional intake.
We have also funded dementia friendly clocks for each inpatient ward. The clocks have a large face keeping patients orientated and the day and date allows patients to feel less confused.
The charity continues to work alongside the trust’s Dementia Lead, Sarah Watling, to identify challenges that face our patients and their families, and how the Charitable Fund can help make a difference whilst they are in NCH&C’s care.