Norfolk’s three acute hospitals sign up to dementia friendly initiative

Norfolk's three acute hospitals are the among the first in the country sign up to being dementia friendly in a new initiative being led by Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Action Alliance. Norfolk patients, families and carers will benefit from a dementia friendly approach at the James Paget University Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn.

The initiative is part of a national call to action: The Right Care – Creating Dementia Friendly Hospitals. The aim is that by March 2013 every hospital in England will have committed to becoming a dementia friendly hospital, working in partnership with their local Dementia Action Alliance.

Willie Cruickshank, Director of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Action Alliance said: “We are part of a national call to action to improve care for people with dementia and we are delighted to have the support of Norfolk’s hospitals which see so many patients with dementia each year. We have been listening to patients, their families and carers about what good care looks like, and how we champion best practice and create a culture of excellence.”

Norman Lamb MP said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the county’s other acute Trusts, James Paget and Queen Elizabeth are the first hospitals to sign up and commit to becoming dementia friendly. This is just the sort of local care and support that dementia patients need, as I discussed with the Royal College of Physicians earlier this week.”

Julia Hunt, Deputy Director of Nursing at the James Paget University Hospital, said: “We care for a population that is older than average and we fully recognise the need to better cater for the specific needs of patients living with dementia. We are recruiting two new posts, jointly funded by the Norfolk and Suffolk dementia alliance, to help improve the experience of our dementia patients and their carers. We are also investing in improvements to signage and the ward environment for our dementia patients.”

Emma MacKay, Acting Director of Nursing at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: ““Making sure our dementia patients benefit from the highest standards in care during their stay with us is a priority for the Norfolk and Norwich. We are continuously developing our service to improve our dementia patients experience and very pleased to be part of the Dementia Friendly Hospital programme with the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance. We want our dementia patients to have the best care and for them and their carers and families to feel really comfortable and supported while they are here.”

Alison Webb, Dementia Care Project Co-ordinator at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn said: “The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is committed to being a Dementia-Friendly Hospital that implements the principles of patient-centred care and provides a service that fully supports and engages with the patient with dementia, their family and carers.

“The hospital is intending to build on its earlier initiatives that involved staff training and raising awareness about dementia, environmental adaptations to help orientation, the use of the hospital passport and the introduction of Dementia Support Workers.”

Across the country, an estimated 25% of acute beds occupied by people with dementia and patients with dementia often have a longer stay in hospital. They are vulnerable to potentially avoidable complications like dehydration and falls, and they are often subject to delays in leaving hospital and returning safely home.

Hospitals will be focusing on five key areas: the hospital environment, the knowledge, skills and attitudes of staff, the ability to identify and assess cognitive impairment, the ability to support people with dementia to be discharged back home and the use of a person-centered care plan which involves families and carers.

The aim is to reduce readmission rates, prevent falls, improve the care for patients with dementia, as well as improving the sense of pride and well being in staff who care for people with dementia in acute hospitals.

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Friday 19th of October 2012 10:00:38 AM