RD&E takes steps to become more dementia friendly

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 12:43pm

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has signed up to two high profile projects which cement its commitment to improving the experience of patients with Dementia and their families when in hospital.

The RD&E has just become the 40th member of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance, a local organisation working towards making Exeter a dementia friendly city.

By joining the Alliance, the hospital has committed to introduce practical actions as well as a three year strategy which includes promoting their dementia and delirium care plan, easy identification of patients, developing activities for patients with dementia and better support for carers and relatives including access to useful contacts and information.

Exeter Dementia Action Alliance Founder Gina Awad, said: "To be collaborating with the hospital is a really crucial partnership for the community and we look forward to being able to offer another outlet to illustrate forward thinking practice and innovation in the city".

The hospital has also pledged its support to John’s Campaign, which promotes the importance of relatives being able to visit or stay with patients who have dementia or delirium for as long as they wish when they are in hospital.

Traditionally, visitors are only allowed onto a ward to see a patient during set times, which can be distressing and disorientating for patients with dementia if they are usually cared for by a relative or are frightened or bewildered by hospital stays.

For carer Sarah McAndrews, knowing that the hospital supported the campaign made all the difference when her grandmother was in hospital. She said: “‘My 88-year-old grandfather had a stroke and was hospitalised.  He was my grandmother's main carer as she has severe vascular dementia.  Whilst my grandfather was in hospital, my grandmother was also admitted with an infection. 

"When Gina Awad advised me of John's Campaign, this made it so much easier for myself and my family to not only visit my grandmother and reassure her, but also to help the nurses by giving her her medication which she was refusing to take from them. It is such an important change and it helped my grandmother's recovery.”

At the RD&E, carers are allowed to stay with a patient for as long as required and the Trust is keen to raise awareness of this across the hospital by supporting John’s Campaign.

The RD&E’s Dementia and Delerium Steering Group said: “Signing up to John’s Campaign was really important to the Trust as we are a caring hospital and want to do the best for our patients and their carers and relatives. 

"We want our patients to be as comfortable as possible and to avoid distress. 

"Encouraging relatives to stay when they can means that the patients are often less frightened and anxious.  This then reduces anxieties for everybody, the patient, the relatives and the staff and ultimately helps people recover more quickly, in  a calm envirmment.”

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