Yeovil District Hospital is focussing on the care it gives to people with dementia and is running a musical project to enhance the way patients are cared for. Music is being used to stimulate patients in the hospital who have dementia in a pilot scheme which is being run for four weeks on Sparkford Ward in partnership with Same Difference Dance.
Ann Hinchliffe and Caroline David from Same Difference Dance visit the ward for an hour every Wednesday afternoon and invite patients to join in with a song. This helps those with dementia by enabling them to recall the song and song lyrics they are familiar with.
Yeovil District Hospital has been running several initiatives as part of its work to implement the National Dementia Strategy ‘Putting People First’. Fifteen dementia champions have been trained with an enhanced knowledge and skills in dementia management to support their colleagues across the hospital.
849 staff from all areas of the hospital have been educated in dementia awareness. Those responsible for patients have been trained to involve carers as much as they can because they are a vital source of help and information in getting to know and understand the patient and can help with communication. Another project which is enabling staff to better understand their patients is a ‘This is me’ patient passport which is compiled by the carers to help their loved one have a better experience in hospital. It contains information about the patient’s life history as many dementia patients think they are living in their youth so this enables staff to understand more about what is going on in their minds.
The hospital is exploring the use of ‘treasure boxes’ for patients which would contain mementos and photos to help them feel more secure in unfamiliar surroundings. Staff are also reviewing the menus it provides to dementia patients and are considering producing pictorial versions to help the patient better understand the choices. The provision of special crockery and cutlery will also help.
Director of Nursing, Sue Jones said:
“We recognise we still have much more to do to improve the care we give to patients admitted to hospital who also happen to have dementia. However the progress we have made and the engagement by all staff in the hospital is very positive.”
More information is also available from the Yeovil, Sherborne and District Branch of the Alzheimer’s Society on 01935 473597 email Yeovil.firstname.lastname@example.org.