South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has successfully formally committed to becoming a dementia friendly organisation.
The trust is committed to address the five conditions to becoming dementia friendly after being accepted by the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and South Tees is the largest trust and one of the first to have committed formally to the DAA’s ‘Call to Action’.
Around 25% of people accessing acute hospital services are likely to have dementia and the number of people with dementia is expected to double during the next 30 years. It is well recognised that new environments such as admissions to hospitals can trigger behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia such as wandering, aggression, shouting, vocally disruptive behaviour and anxiety. All of these need careful and skilful management to avoid deterioration in dementia symptoms and inappropriate use of anti-psychotic medication.
Simple environmental improvements to signage, placement of orientation clocks, contrasting colours between seating, flooring and toilet seats have been shown to reduce anxiety, wandering, incontinence, falls and improve the patients experience.
With this in mind, the trust has conducted an environmental audit and this has been completed in three areas (wards 11and 12 at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and Ainderby ward in the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton).
The audit showed the key areas of greatest need are signage, toilet seat colouring and access to stimulation for patients with dementia in all areas (inpatient and
outpatient). The trust secured funding from the North East Strategic Health Authority earlier in the year to address these issues on the three wards used in the audit and undertake an audit of anti-psychotic use in patients with dementia.
South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group has awarded the trust a further £216,000 for environmental improvements, educational resources and distraction therapies that can be used to improve the care and experience of patients with who are admitted to South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Henry Waters, chairman of NHS South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group added: “We see this as a significant move forward in delivering our local dementia strategy and helps us to ensure that people with dementia have a positive experience and achieve the best possible outcomes from treatment when admitted to the hospital”
Beth Swanson, dementia strategy project manager for South Tees, said ““This money offers us a fantastic opportunity to make the improvements we know make a difference to older people and patients with dementia and learning disabilities.
“As a trust, we are committed to improve the care and experience of patients with dementia and frailty in our hospitals”.