Our challenge:

Supporting patients and carers with dementia

How we tackled it:

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust has initiated a host of projects aimed at supporting patients suffering from dementia along with their carers.

Dr Peter Ngoma runs the Memory Clinic every other Wednesday with a registrar and specialist nurse. Part of the first attendance at clinic is for an assessment of the patient and establishing if they need an MRI or CT scan or further tests to rule out any other physical health problems that present similar to dementia and part of the second  attendance at clinic is for a diagnosis. Matron for Dementia Care Florence Bawak is notified of all patients who are newly diagnosed and contacts the patients and their families/ carers and refers them to Signpost for carers or the Alzheimer’s Society where they can receive additional support.

Music in Hospitals have visited the hospital on a few occasions to perform for the patients there have been two concerts so far, one being a taster session. Patients form a connection with music and staff see a very different side to them.

A ‘knot flower’ badge scheme enabling staff in our A&E department to easily recognise patients with dementia has also been established.

Clearer signage for patients with dementia and ‘memory boards’ reminding patients instantly what date and time it is have also been introduced as well as 70 dementia champions across the organisation

There is a full time psychiatric liaison service for older adults and the organisation has also run a training course for drivers of a local taxi firm so they are better trained for patients with dementia.

Winifred Collingbourne and Florence BawakFundraising is taking place to introduce ‘dementia café’ areas in wards across the hospital but a scheme for volunteers for people with dementia and dining companions to assist at mealtimes is currently underway. There is also a reminiscence room in the ward for older people.

Activity Mitts also known as ‘Twiddle muffs’, are a knitted or crocheted band with items attached, such as ribbons, buttons, zips and beads which provide sensory stimulation.  These are also a good conversation starter as hospital is an unnatural environment and patients can often find it difficult to find the words.

Florence is leading the ‘Knit a Mitt’ campaign at Stepping Hill Hospital and is appealing for budding knitters to don their needles to support patients. You can send your activity mitts to: Florence Bawak, Matron for Dementia Care, Birch House, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport SK2 7JE.

What changed:

  • Carers receive the support the need in a timely manner
  • Activity mitts are proven to help relax and distract patients
  • Music can help with reminiscence and relaxation.
  • Areas are decorated in period décor can make the patients calmer and happier.

Devolution Focus:

One of our ‘early implementation priorities is a dementia pilot where Salford will pilot a way of working which will help people living with dementia get better care, through integrating services and using opportunities to use technology and digital advances to help patients live at home safely. Stockport is ahead of the game, both for in-patients and out-patients.