Next week is Dementia Action Week and around the James Paget there will be awareness raising events for patients, their families, visitors and staff.
This year the call is not just for awareness but for action to create the change in communities that people with dementia – and their families – want to see.
The campaign calls on everyone to recognise that people affected by dementia have a right to be treated equally and live the lives they want.
During the Week everyone will be asked across the UK to unite and take actions – large and small – that will make everyday life better for people affected by dementia. Whether this is taking the time to reach out to someone with dementia for a chat, or rallying your local community to clean up a park to make it more dementia-friendly – every action makes a difference.
At the James Paget staff will be asked to pledge to improve patient care for those with dementia, through a greater understanding and awareness of individuals’ needs.
The introduction of Pets as Therapy dogs and cats, mandatory training for all staff within the Trust and painting of wards in bright and identifiable colours are all helping to make our hospital more ‘dementia friendly’ for patients, but the aim is to ensure all our staff have the knowledge to help, and that families and carers who look after someone with dementia can get information and support.
Dementia Care Lead Ali Thayne says; “We want staff to be aware of what they can do to make a difference, whether they are looking after someone in the hospital or if they are out shopping and become aware of someone with dementia who is having difficulties. As part of the local Dementia Action Alliance we also want to support patients and family carers and ensure that information is available to anyone who needs it.
“During Dementia Action Week we will be asking staff what difference they can make and will be encouraging them to make a pledge to do something that will really help, while offering opportunities for carers to get advice and to talk to someone.
“Across the hospital we are working closely with both the Palliative Care team and our Occupational Therapists to provide a joined up approach to dementia care and some of the things we are focusing on will be highlighted too, including our Dementia Befrienders who work with patients and their families to offer a listening ear and support.
“We’ve recently introduced Dementia Friends Awareness Sessions for staff and during the week there will be the opportunity for family and family carers to attend one of the sessions.
“We also offer bespoke training to our staff either one-to-one or in small groups. This builds on our mandatory training for all staff to take care to the next level and to provide assistance to our existing Dementia champions – staff across the hospital who already provide specialist advice.”
From Monday 21 to Friday 25 May there will be a stand at the James Paget hospital chapel, to give patients, visitors and families the opportunity to pick up more information.
On Monday 21 there will also be sessions in the Conservatory at the Burrage Centre, at the back of the James Paget site, for staff and family carers – Introduction to Sun Downing will be between 9.30am and 10am, while Importance of Reminiscence and Activity Interaction will be held from 10.15am and 12noon.
On Wednesday 23 the team will be joined by Norfolk Libraries - who will be screening archive footage in the chapel - and some of our volunteers, including Dementia Befrienders and a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog.
There will also be a community event at the Louise Hamilton Centre on the James Paget site.
On Thursday there’s the chance to meet our two PAT cats, and a Dementia Friends Awareness session for family carers in the chapel from 10am to 11am.
At some sessions there will also be the chance to see and try a GERT (Gerontologic Test) suit, which simulates what experiences can be like for older patients with dementia.