About 850,000 people live with dementia in the UK, and this will increase to over a million in the next decade. There are many forms of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer ‘s disease. All dementias, whatever the cause, are progressive diseases of the brain which cause difficulties with memory, thinking, communicating and performing everyday tasks although each person’s response to the disease is highly individual.

Between 12 and 25% of acute hospital beds are occupied with people with dementia at any one time, across all specialities. Dementia is everyone’s business and we can all make a positive difference to people with dementia and their families.

Kindness, reassurance and good communication are excellent starting points but if you are looking for more information and guidance you will find it here.

Carer’s Passport

At East Surrey Hospital we encourage those carers who wish to continue caring to come and help when the person they care for while in hospital. The Carer’s Passport aims to support carers to do this and gives them some additional benefits such as discounted parking and meals in the canteen.

Please let ward staff know that you are a carer and speak to the nurse in charge to obtain your Carer’s Passport.

Visit our carers advice page for more information and advice.

Johns campaign logo.jpegMost of the wards at East Surrey allow open visiting (flexible visiting throughout the day).   However, be aware that at times the wards may be busier with staff providing personal care and ward rounds taking place.  Also please follow staff advice regarding visiting during outbreaks of infections when the ward may have to limit or stop visiting.  Please see additional information regarding visiting on the Supporting patients: Open visiting guidelines.

As a Trust that has open visiting we have signed up to John’s Campaign.  This promotes the important role of carers and gives carers the right to continue to support the person with dementia while they are in hospital.

More information about open visiting is on our patients and visitors page.

admiral nurses logo.pngThe Trust is a host organisation for Dementia UK’s admiral nurse service. Dementia UK provides specialist dementia support for families through the admiral nurse service.

When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, the admiral nurse works alongside them – giving one-to-one support, guidance and practical solutions people need that can be hard to find elsewhere.

Our admiral nurse is trained, developed and supported by Dementia UK. Families that have their support have somebody who is truly expert and caring by their side – helping them to live more positively with dementia in the present, and to face the challenges of the future with more confidence.

For more information please visit the Dementia UK website.

Butterfly Scheme logo.jpegAt SASH we use the Butterfly Scheme for people with dementia or delirium. It aims to alert staff to the specific care approach needed to ensure that patients receive appropriate care and so reduce the person’s stress levels and increase their safety and wellbeing.

A blue butterfly is used where someone has a confirmed diagnosis of dementia and an outline of a butterfly is used where there are memory problems that may be an undiagnosed dementia or delirium. These are placed by the bed and in the notes alerting staff. You can choose not to have the butterfly by the bed if you prefer.

If you require more information please speak to a member of staff or visit the Butterfly Scheme website.

We encourage people with memory problems or their carers to complete a Reach Out to Me document.  This helps makes sure that hospital staff can give the best care that is tailored to the person you care for.  Components of the Reach Out to Me document include information on preferences, routines and topics of conversation. You may have completed a similar document before (This is me or Mycarematters information); if so we will be happy to make a copy of it and ensure staff read it.

Buttefly volunteers work alongside clinical staff to offer an extra dimension to care by providing social support for patients with dementia and their carers. The volunteers have received some training and are equipped to respond appropriately to the needs of people living with dementia. They help with activities, at meal times or just sit with someone to provide comfort and reassurance.

If you would like to volunteer with us please visit the volunteers page.

Dementia Friendly Hospitals.jpegSASH has demonstrated its commitment to people with dementia by joining the Dementia Action Alliances’ Dementia-Friendly Hospital Charter.

The Trust submitted an action plan covering six key principles: staffing, partnership, assessments, care, environment and governance, which a person with dementia or their carer would expect. The charter shows the Trust’s commitment to dementia care.

More information is available on the Dementia Action Alliance website.