Patients at East Surrey Hospital took part in a range of activities from pamper sessions to potting plants as Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) pledged to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
The activities coincided with national Dementia Action Week* and doctors, nurses and therapists across the hospital came up with creative ways to help people start a conversation and challenge misconceptions about the condition.
The hospital’s new dementia friendly garden, Camomile Courtyard, was the perfect setting for a tea party with its ‘walls of recall’ which display images from yesteryear helping to evoke memories and discussion. Staff organised pamper sessions where patients could have their nails painted, while others enjoyed playing a special version of therapeutic table tennis. Patients were even treated to a reminiscing movie afternoon, with Singing in the Rain broadcast in a ward. The hospital chapel also hosted a special dementia friendly service with familiar hymns and readings.
Chris O’Connor, Consultant Admiral Nurse at SASH said: “We can all make a positive difference to the hospital experience of people living with dementia or those experiencing memory problems. East Surrey Hospital has signed up to the Dementia Friendly Hospital Charter and this week wards and teams have been making pledges about what they can do on an ongoing basis for their patients. It has been a really helpful week in focussing all of us on how to improve the lives of people living with dementia.”
In recent years SASH has continued to improve the physical environment for people living with dementia, giving special attention to dementia friendly flooring, distinct colours and familiar images to aid recognition.
During Dementia Action Week the Trust worked with Action for Carers, Surrey and Right at Home to give patients living with dementia and their families a chance to come together, during what can often be a difficult time in hospital away from home. The Trust also used the week to encourage staff to sign up to support dementia research.