Hospital charity launches appeal to support patients with dementia

Published/updated: 18/01/17 10:45

Staff -Phil Hall voluteer - Deb ColesA hospital charity is launching a new fundraising appeal to support patients with dementia and make a hospital stay less daunting for the thousands of patients suffering from this debilitating illness.

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity raises funds for projects at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals, as well as Birmingham Chest Clinic and Solihull Community Services.

Dementia is now the UK’s leading cause of death and at any one time, 25 per cent of hospital beds at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull are occupied by patients who have been diagnosed with the condition. Therefore the charity is determined to do all it can to assist its acute teams and improve the hospital experience for patients and their families so has launched the ‘Elderly and Dementia Appeal’.

Phil Hall, senior dementia nurse at the Trust, said he was delighted to have the charity’s backing to help in making improvements for patients across all the Trust’s hospitals.

He said: “Patients with dementia are particularly vulnerable in an acute environment, often becoming confused and distressed in an unfamiliar setting. Work is ongoing to train our staff on how to properly support patients with dementia, as well as delirium (acute confusion) which often goes hand in hand, to ensure the best possible experience for them.

“We also need more hands on items and this is where the new charity appeal will really give us a boost. Being able to buy reminiscence items, appropriate equipment for patients with dementia such as crockery and stimulating equipment have been proven to make a big difference and the more we can do to boost our supplies across all the Trust’s hospitals the better.”

Jennifer Chatham, from the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Charity, is hoping the public get behind the appeal to make a real difference to patients with dementia.

She said: “Many people are now experiencing dementia first hand and can relate to just how challenging this illness can be for everybody. The charity is passionate about making a real difference to patients who have to stay in our hospitals by raising funds to provide extra comfort.

“We can improve the environments by providing clocks which light up at night, orientation signs which say whether it is day or night, dementia-friendly crockery and signs that need to be in primary colours.

“We can also create activity trollies to help provide meaningful engagement and reduce anxiety for patients with dementia. Items such as twiddlemuffs (a popular hand-knitted visual and sensory stimulation for patients), therapy dolls, basic sign cards which, for example, allow patients to express whether they are happy or sad, in pain or hungry, as well as activities such as large pieced jigsaws and the list continues.”

If you would like to donate to the `Elderly and Dementia Appeal’ or would like to find out more about how you can support with fundraising yourself, visit www.heartofenglandcharity.org.uk, call the charity team on 0121 424 0973 or email fundraising@heartofengland.nhs.uk. You can also keep up-to-date with the charity’s work on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HeartofEnglandCharity

Meanwhile, if you think you can offer your time and care to support elderly patients as a Caring Together volunteer, please contact Phil Hall on 0121 424 4277 or e-mail phillip.hall@heartofengland.nhs.uk

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