STRUCTURE: Dementia services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust have received a £1m investment through a grant from the Department of Health.
The money has allowed the trust to invest in ageing simulation suits, which stiffen the joints and blur the vision, allowing staff to experience what it might be like to be an elderly patient.
Improvements have also been made to the dementia ward including installing soft flooring on wards to protect against patient falls, colour-coded bed bays so patients can orientate themselves and introducing brightly coloured crockery to signal to staff that patients need help with eating.
Cluttered ward layouts and confusing signage in hospitals and care homes were cited as the top reasons for causing distress to people with dementia in research conducted by the King’s Fund.
All staff across the trust are also shown a dementia training video created by the nursing staff. This has now been turned into a YouTube series and NHS staff across the country have used it as a training tool.
Blue wrist bands and forget-me-not symbols have also been introduced so dementia patients can be discretely identified by staff wherever they are in the trust.
The £1m has been spent across the whole dementia pathway, and includes investment in community care.
Chief nurse Eileen Sills said: “These design initiatives have made an overwhelming difference to these patients, making them safer, calmer and more comfortable. Thanks to the extra funding, we will now be able to make the same changes to other wards that care for older patients.”