A new initiative to improve the experience of people with dementia, who come into Leicester’s Hospitals, will be officially launched by Nicci Gerrard, founder of John’s Campaign and Julie Smith Chief Nurse, at Leicester’s Hospitals Champions Celebration Event on Wednesday, 13th September.
This inspiring initiative will be called ‘Stay with Me’, and will be rolled out over the next month into all wards and clinical areas.
The Champions Celebration Event is taking place during Older People’s Month 2017 to celebrate the hard work and support Dementia and Older People Champions provide for older people and people with dementia in and around Leicester’s Hospitals.
The principles of ‘Stay with Me’ were inspired by John’s Campaign, a national initiative founded by Nicci Gerrard in memory of Nicci’s father, Dr John Gerrard.
Justine Allen, from the Patient Experience Team explains:
“We’ve developed our initiative from the campaigns statement of purpose, ‘Stay with Me’. The ethos of ‘Stay with Me’ is to help create a welcoming environment on all hospital wards where there are no barriers for family who wish to stay beyond visiting times for patients with dementia.
“There is a wealth of evidence to suggest patients with dementia who are often frail, vulnerable adults have much more positive outcomes if they are with people they are most familiar with.
“The principles behind this campaign are very simple and similar to that of our existing Carers Charter; to allow family, carers and friends to help support vulnerable patients so it made sense to trial the campaign to see if it could enhance what we already do.”
Throughout June and July 2017, the initiative was piloted on wards 32, 33 and 36 at Leicester Royal Infirmary to see how it works in practice, and to identify possible barriers and difficulties.
During the pilot, staff welcomed carers, friends and family onto the wards beyond standard visiting hours and worked in partnership with families to help provide the best possible care for the patient.
Over 1,400 patients were admitted through the three wards, of which 14 patients had a diagnosis of dementia and had family who were supported by the scheme to stay beyond visiting times with the patient.
“Where patients may need some extra support, we have found this is often best placed to come from someone they know and love. Being in hospital can be an emotional and overwhelming experience, especially for patients with dementia.
“Having a familiar face by your side to help with getting dressed, eating or by just simply being there for company and reassurance, can make a huge difference to health and recovery.”
The results of the pilot were overwhelmingly positive and showed excellent engagement with staff from start to finish. Carer and family feedback also suggested they felt more supported and involved.
For further information about John’s Campaign, please visit www.johnscampaign.org.uk