Countess of Chester Hospital

Raising awareness of dementia

Blog post   •   Oct 25, 2012 18:35 BST

The Countess of Chester Hospital is continuing its efforts to care for patients with dementia by backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the issues and challenges associated with the condition.

Monday 1st October 2012 saw the launch ofDementia Awareness Month at the Countess which aims to raise awareness of dementia. As part of the launch patients, visitors and staff were asked to purchase a 'Remember the Person' balloon message. The messages were written by or for anyone who has lived with or been affected by dementia. Coloured balloons were then displayed outside the hospital with the messages attached. Proceeds from the balloon sales will go towards improving the Day Room facilities on the Care of the Elderly wards within the hospital.

The Countess already works very closely with Alzheimer's Society in Chester and they host an information stand on Wednesdays from 2-3pm throughout the year at the main entrance, hosted by Alzheimer's Society staff and volunteers. The information stand will be present throughout October as usual but with additional information for the benefit of Countess staff as well as patients and visitors.

One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia, and health and social care professionals have a key role to play in helping improve people with dementia's quality of life.   In addition, about a quarter of all hospital beds are occupied with patients who have dementia, most of whom are over the age of 65. 

Sian Williams, Head of Nursing at the Countess said:  "We all need to be more aware of what we can do to help patients with dementia, not least because they often feel vulnerable and in need of extra reassurance and support. 

"There is a lot of work going on nationally relating to dementia with doctors and nurses, so this campaign is targeting a different but very important group of hospital staff - porters, receptionists, volunteers and cleaners whose attitude can make a tremendous difference.   For example, if they see a patient looking lost, we want staff to check they are okay and whether they need help. In particular, we are stressing the need to be very kind and patient and remember the person."

Other work conducted by the Trust for dementia patients include activity afternoons which are carried out on ward 34 for any patients in the Trust with dementia . These afternoons consist of anything from art and crafts, afternoon tea to sing along music sessions.  The Housekeepers on the wards have been invaluable in sustaining this every Wednesday.

Stephen Worrall, Ward Manager for Ward 34 has found these activities invaluable in helping patients with dementia and aiding their recovery.  Stephen said: "On the latest events afternoon a sing along music session was arranged which was greatly enjoyed by all who attended. I witnessed a gentleman who is suffering in the end stages of dementia with anxiety and delirium, singing and performing to a delighted audience. For those three minutes he could have been eighteen again. He was given an opportunity to escape from a world he did not choose and having nursed him for several weeks it was a truly moving moment. As a Trust we can be really proud with the progress made in the area of dementia care."

The Countess of Chester Hospital's support for this campaign is just the latest example of the Trust's commitment to dealing with dementia. A new service, jointly run by the Countess and Cheshire Wirral Partnership (CWP) consists of two specialist dementia nurses being based five days a week on medical and surgical wards at the Countess of Chester.

The feedback from staff and patient's has been extremely positive in helping and supporting patients with Dementia.

For any further information about dementia visit: www.alzheimers.org.uk.