Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has been shortlisted for a top prize at the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards, an annual event celebrating the achievements of individuals, organisations, projects and partnerships in creating dementia friendly communities.
The trust is one of three organisations chosen as a finalist in the category of ‘Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year - Health and Social Care’ (sponsored by Rowlands Pharmacy), which recognises those that have successfully integrated a dementia friendly approach in order to support people living with dementia, and/or their families and carers.
Over the last year, Epsom and St Helier hospitals have driven forward a programme of work that has seen a number of new initiatives introduced as part of the trust’s commitment to being a dementia friendly organisation. Carole Webster, Deputy Chief Nurse and trust lead for dementia, explained: “Providing the best possible care to people living with dementia, and supporting their loved ones and carers, is incredibly important to us – so we are thrilled to have been chosen as a finalist at this year’s Dementia Friendly Awards!
“As part of our commitment to being dementia friendly, we now provide Dementia Friends training to all staff at induction, and have signed up to John’s Campaign, which recognises and champions the rights of those caring for people living with dementia. This year also heralded the launch of our Dementia Strategy which draws together many pieces of work already underway and sets out our ongoing journey to becoming a leading light in caring for people living with dementia.”
One of the key components to the trust’s success has been the introduction of its first dementia friendly ward at St Helier Hospital (Ward C2). Nurse Consultant Debi Miller explained: “Ward C2 is an environment created to support the delivery of personalised care based on the specific needs of people with dementia. If you look around, you can see lots of signs that there is something different – and special – about the ward. The dementia friendly colours, the pictures of scenes from nature, the bespoke reminiscence area or the regular afternoon tea parties: wherever possible, the ward has been designed to help people with dementia feel less disorientated or confused, and create an environment which supports more personal care.”
The Dementia Friendly Awards recognise the part that everyone has to play in creating safe, friendly and supportive communities for people with dementia, from volunteers and carers to hairdressers and hospitals; schools and sports clubs to community groups and corporations. Charlotte Hall, Chief Nurse said: “Whether it is the opening of our first ward with a dedicated focus on dementia, the introduction of twiddlemuffs (to help keep worried hands busy), afternoon tea for patients and their carers, or 'memory boxes' filled with memorabilia from decades past, we have realised some truly fantastic achievements over the last 12 months.
“We are absolutely delighted that this has been recognised and are so proud that we have been selected as a finalist in the Dementia Friendly Awards.”
Now in their third year, the 2016 awards have attracted a record number of nominations, with 400 entries. This year's finalists were selected by people with dementia and their carers, as well as judging panels of industry experts. Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer for Alzheimer’s Society added: “This is our biggest and best ever Dementia Friendly Awards with a record number of nominations and a number of new awards this year. The variety and quality of submissions really demonstrate the success and commitment across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to build dementia friendly communities which bring about positive change at a local level for people affected by dementia. I wish all the finalists the very best of luck!”
Winners will be revealed at the awards ceremonies taking place in London on Wednesday 30 November at Church House. To view all the finalists, visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlyawards.