Hospitals understanding dementia impact

Hospitals understanding dementia impact

Hospitals understanding dementia impact is essential for recovery. Dementia adds additional and often invisible complex needs which have a negative impact on the person therefore delaying discharge. For the person the whole experience is confusing, disorientating and upsetting. The original reason for admission may pale to insignificance, leading to ill-being, added complications and poor recovery.  however, if we can identify and meet their needs we improve outcomes for them.

I have dementia too – an inside story

Really understanding how an experience like a hospital admission affects a person with dementia is not intuitive. We do not fully comprehend the person’s reality, but don’t worry – help is at hand. ‘Barbara, the whole story’ is a wonderful film by Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, a tool for staff training. Barbara has dementia and seeing the challenges for her of the hospital environment is very enlightening. This rare insight is both moving and revealing. Perhaps alternatives to hospital admissions should be found for people with dementia. There are six films about Barbara in the series. Realising how much more a person with dementia is dealing with is very humbling.

June Bailey is Barbara

June Bailey said this was her most challenging and most rewarding role. She is a very convincing actress who plays the part with great empathy for her subject. These films have changed attitudes to dementia in hospitals across the world. We are indebted to June and also to Guys and St Thomas for creating this short film and making it available to all.

Zoe Harris

Most people with dementia are admitted to hospital for other  reasons than their dementia, but dementia will be the reason they remain there longer. ‘Research has shown that a person with dementia is likely to stay in hospital four times longer than a person without a cognitive impairment, whilst the most vulnerable have only a 3% chance of having their needs met.’ says Zoe Harris.  ‘My Care Matters’  and Remember I’m me care charts are her contribution to improving person-centred care.

‘Barbara, the whole story’ is available on YouTube below.  It is very good use of 33 minutes of your time. This is not just for hospital staff or dementia related care workers. 24.6 million people in the UK know a family member or close friend with dementia, so this is valuable learning for all of us. You never know when you might need it!

Butterfly Scheme

Many hospitals now operate the butterfly scheme. Do you know someone with dementia who is in hospital? Tell staff as soon as possible so that they can be more aware of likely issues. This early knowledge makes all the difference to their well-being and recovery.

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