Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust launched on Wednesday (May 22nd) a new service to give extra support to people caring for a loved one with dementia.
The “Knowing Me Carers Hub” will offer help to get advice and find out how to access expert help regarding emotional support, finances, respite care and all the other pressures they may face. It is available to anyone whose loved one is an inpatient at Worthing Hospital and has dementia.
Caring for people with a dementia is a growing challenge for acute hospitals, as approximately one in four of all inpatients are believed affected. It is a priority for staff to give these patients – and those who care for them – the best possible support.
The Trust has already made significant improvements with specialist dementia nurses and occupational therapy staff employed and a team of volunteers recruited to support ward staff to give the best possible care.
Staff and volunteers now use activity boxes on the wards – full of games, images and music from the past – to help the patients to be stimulated, engaged, and comforted. The boxes were paid for by the Friends of Worthing Hospitals.
The Knowing Me Carers Hub launched during Dementia Awareness Week is run by Trust staff and volunteers (many of whom are, or have been, carers themselves) and supported by outside organisations – carers will be signposted to groups such as Carers Support West Sussex, Dementia UK, and the Alzheimer’s Society.
There have been a host of other activities at the Trust to mark Dementia Awareness Week, including a raffle, tea party, information stands, old-style music and even a ukelele band.
The ‘hub’ sessions will be drop-in events, intended to help carers know where to go to access support and advice.
The sessions will run weekly at Worthing between 2-3pm on Thursdays in the Shoreline Restaurant.
Matron Katrina O’Shea said: “We know that a growing number of our patients have a dementia, and we know that this trend will continue – we have to find new ways of making sure we give them the best possible care, and that includes helping their carers too.
“The patient may only be looked after by our staff for a short time, but the carer has a responsibility around the clock, every day. They have an enormously demanding role, and so it is essential that we do what we can to help – that support is crucial both for the carer, and the person they care for.”