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Hospitals are recognised for patients’ dementia care

Robotic pets, dementia training and improved signage have helped local hospitals gain commendation for their efforts to become accessible to those with dementia, ahead of World Alzheimer’s Day (Wednesday 21 September).

Basildon, Broomfield, and Southend hospitals, run by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, have been recognised for working towards being ‘dementia-friendly’ by local Dementia Action Alliances (DAAs). The DAAs support organisations to make their services more accessible for those with Dementia and gave certificates to dementia staff during events held at each hospital.

Staff have introduced measures, including new wall coverings in wards and improved signage, which makes it easier for patients and their carers to navigate hospital buildings. Staff have also been given materials such as dolls and robotic cats, as well as photo albums and activities such as jigsaws, to help them interact with patients.

Claire Turner, Learning Disability, Autism and Dementia Service Lead from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Across Essex, Southend and Thurrock there are estimated to be over 22,000 people living with dementia, and so I’m proud that our work has been recognised. Our strategy sets out how we care for our patients and their families, focusing on them as people.”

Local Councillors visited the Trust’s hospitals to mark the milestone, and on World Alzheimer’s Day nurses in the dementia team provided boxes of treats and dementia resources for staff and patients on their wards at each hospital.

Diane Sarkar, Chief Nursing Officer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This news is brilliant. I know how hard the dementia service have worked to ensure that all of our hospitals are working to be as accessible as possible to our patients with dementia, and their families. We will continue to make progress to ensure that all of our patients receive excellent care.”

As part of the accreditation process, the DAAs from Basildon, Chelmsford, Southend, and Thurrock welcomed the Trust’s dementia strategy. Mark Neville, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator for the Essex Community Dementia Support Services delivered by Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust ‘Working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Community’ recognition. This annual award is given based upon what the Trust has achieved to date and more importantly what it is planning to do going forward.

“This is a vital and exciting journey, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that residents living with dementia have the best possible experience when visiting their local hospital as a patient, out-patient or visitor.”

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