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Dementia care

Dementia is a disease which affects more people now than ever before. Presently, 850,000 people live with dementia within the UK, and this number is predicted to rise to over two million by 2051. The Prime Minister has also recognised this and has set a challenge to change the perception of dementia and improve the care provided to those with a diagnosis. (Click here to read the full Prime Minister's Challenge).

We know how important it is to recognise the differing needs of patients who are living with dementia, and hope that this page demonstrates the efforts we are making to improve the care which we provide during a hospital admission.

At UH Bristol we endeavour to provide the best person centred care available. As part of this, we are striving to achieve a national goal set out by the NHS Commissioning Board regarding dementia care in hospital. This is a nationwide drive to identify dementia or a delirium as early as possible during a hospital admission to ensure the best treatment can be given. It also focuses on improving the care of those living with dementia within the hospital patient journey and to ensure that carers and families of those living with dementia feel adequately supported throughout the process.

This means all emergency admissions whom are 75 years old and over are assessed for dementia and delirium. If you are well enough to be assessed, you will be asked the following;

"Have you been more forgetful in the last 12 months, to the extent that it has significantly affected your daily life?"

Answering yes to this question will trigger a process of assessments and investigations during your hospital stay. The results are shared with your GP who will continue to monitor and provide care and support for you. You are free to decline to take part at any time. However, it is considered best to get a diagnosis of dementia as early as possible to enable you to get the right treatment and support.

If you do receive a new diagnosis in hospital, we will support you through this and ensure that you and your loved ones have all the information and help which is available to you.

During your hospital admission

Hospital can be a very difficult place to be if you are living with dementia. Sometimes this can lead to increased confusion or become more disorientated. We understand that a hospital admission can be very distressing, and that routines and a familiar environment can be essential to your wellbeing. When a hospital admission is required this can be very stressful for all those affected. Anything which you can think of that can reduce the stress of a hospital admission is valuable information and should be passed onto the staff at the earliest convenience.

Essential items for a hospital admission

  • Appropriate footwear - Something with a good grip that fits well and are comfortable
  • Glasses, hearing aids and dentures - to help with communication and understanding
  • Items of significance/importance - for example, having copies of pictures of family members or pets.

All about me

This is a document that tells us all about you. It can be filled by you or someone who knows you best. It helps us  understand you as a person, from what you like to be called to your normal routines. This will help the staff build  a rapport with you and help them care for you. If you do not already have one please ask the ward staff who can  provide you with a copy.


Lasting Power of Attorney (Health and Welfare)

If you have or are a power of attorney, it is important that you make the staff aware. We will need to see the original, and to take a photocopy of the document.

Carers of those with dementia

We understand how valuable the carer is to the patient's wellbeing. Whether this is as a source of information about the patient's routine, or simply to keep them company during their admission as we understand what a scary and confusing place a hospital can seem sometimes.

If you are a carer of someone with a dementia, please let our staff know as soon as possible. We have support available for carer's within the hospital, via the carer liaison worker. Please visit our carer's pages here.

If you know that making reasonable adjustments to a patients care would improve their experience in hospital, for instance specific eating preferences, then please raise this with the ward staff who will do their best to accommodate.

Within our Trust, we fully support John's Campaign; a campaign that is driving for families and carers of people with dementia to have the same rights as the parents of sick children, and be allowed to remain with them in hospital for as many hours of the day and night as they so wish.

If having your carer stay with you outside of normal visiting hours would be beneficial, whether it's to help you with your everyday activities or just to keep you company and reassure you, please let the ward staff know and they will be happy to accommodate you.

What we do for patients living with dementia

We use a specific care plan to ensure that the care we provide for those living with dementia is tailored to suit their needs. It covers all

Forget me not aspects of care, from eating to communication and making sure the environment is dementia friendly. It also covers ensuring that you and your loved ones have all the information and contacts that you may need to aid in your care going forward.

All members of staff undergo dementia awareness training on induction to the Trust, and we have over 100 Dementia champions. Champions are staff, of any grade or profession, who want to improve the experience, care, treatment and outcomes for people with Dementia, families and carers whilst in UH Bristol. Champions can be identified by a Forget-Me-Not pin on their lanyard or uniform and are always happy to help.

A visual identification system the Forget-Me-Not is used in the hospital to make all staff aware that someone has a diagnosis of dementia, or has a current cognitive impairment. This is so they can adapt their approach to better suit your needs. These will be displayed on the patient board, by the bedside and in your notes.

We use red lids on our water jugs and red cups to encourage you to drink plenty of fluid. The red makes these objects much easier to see and reminds you to drink. If you need assistance at mealtimes, this will be provided by the nursing staff or on some wards, volunteers.

We're piloting the use of an activity box with patients, and iPads for reminiscence, connecting to apps for games, and YouTube for film and music clips - with the aim to roll these out across our hospitals after evaluation. And we've had some very positive feedback on our knitted/crochted muffs and blankets, which staff and members of the public have been sending in since May 2016. These 'Twiddles' provide a source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation, while also keeping patients warm.

Mealtime volunteerVolunteers

We have a ready and willing team of volunteers who are here to help. Our volunteers are great at providing companionship. Whether it's to help you with a crossword puzzle, play a game of cards, reading the paper or just someone who is happy to have a chat and listen to you, they are more than happy to assist you.

If you need assistance at meal times, this help can be provided by a meal time volunteer, who receives specific training in this. 

Useful links

Alzheimer's Society

Care Direct

Well Aware

Crossroads Alliance (covering North Somerset)

UH Bristol Carer's Pages /patients-and-visitors/carers/