A new Associate Practitioners for Dementia service, which aims to significantly improve the time spent in hospital for those with dementia, has been introduced at St Mary’s Hospital.
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust is seeing an increasing number of patients being admitted into hospital who have a dementia diagnosis. This can be an extremely frightening experience and the Trust says it recognises the importance of doing everything it can to ease this stress for patients.
The Associate Practitioners for Dementia is a team of 2 who, although non-clinical, will have an oversight of the day to day care of patients living with dementia on the wards.
One of the first tasks on admission is for the team to begin recording information in the ‘This Is Me’ document. This key document will be contributed to by the patient, family or carer and will offer a vital insight into the person’s likes, dislikes and behaviours. The booklet will remain with the patient during their hospital stay and will evolve as more information is added.
By observing the physical and mental health needs of its patients, the Associate Practitioners for Dementia will ensure that the most appropriate support is being offered and can be extended to meet the needs and education of the family as a whole. The team will help spot any signs of deterioration and report this to the nursing staff.
By paying regular visits, the team will become familiar faces to the patients by talking with them about memorable topics, assisting with their mealtimes if needed and carrying out activities, should they wish to do so. Some of these activities have included colouring, word searches, crosswords, reading books; anything to pass the time of day and help make a patient’s time in hospital a little more enjoyable.
Beverley Sparkes, Associate Practitioner for Dementia, said:
“It’s a huge adjustment for our dementia patients when coming into the hospital and we are here to help make it as least frightening for them as possible.”
The Associate Practitioners for Dementia are easily recognisable in bright green polo tops and can be contacted via the ward staff or hospital switchboard.