Improving dementia care in hospitals across Kent and Medway

ContactSue Gratton, Deputy Associate Director, Integrated Commissioning, NHS Kent and Medway
Telephone01233 618372
AddressTemplar House, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL

This project aims to improve the experience of people with dementia whilst in acute hospitals across Kent and Medway.


  • To maintain the privacy and dignity of people with dementia.
  • To reduce the prescription of antipsychotic drugs.
  • To ensure that people with dementia receive adequate nutrition and fluids.
  • To maintain the independence of people with dementia and support their abilities to undertake activities of daily living.
  • To increase staff awareness of dementia and increased awareness of services available in the community.
  • To promote the contribution of volunteers.


  • A buddy scheme which uses trained volunteers to work with ward staff to improve outcomes for people with dementia by engaging in activities with people with dementia and encouraging and assisting with feeding and drinking where necessary and signposting the families of people with dementia to support and information.
  • Environmental improvements, eg making changes to lighting, floor coverings and improved way finding, introduction of other materials and equipment which would make reasonable adjustments for people with dementia.
  • Training for all staff who may be involved in the care of people with dementia, both clinical and non clinical staff, eg porters, catering assistants.

Anticipated outcomes

  • A reduction in patient anxiety and a reduction in the prescription of antipsychotic drugs.
  • Patients receive adequate food and drink and do not become malnourished or dehydrated.
  • Independence and the ability to undertake activities of daily living will be maintained, which will help to reduce lengths of stay and enable patients to return to their own home, rather than be admitted to long term care.
  • People with dementia will be treated with dignity and respect.
  • Carers and families receive appropriate support and advice and are reassured that their loved one is receiving good quality care.

Progress update

Whilst the start date was the 1 April, all the Trusts are at different stages of implementation. Implementation of training is on track as this also aligns to the national CQUIN. All Trusts have made some environmental changes which now need to be evaluated.

The buddy scheme was based on a model already up and running in Darwent Valley Hospital (DVH) and the remaining three Trusts are in the process of implementing the service. Evaluation will be undertaken by Greenwich University, proving the issues of funding can be overcome.