Shining a light on caring for the elderly and patients with dementia is one of East Surrey Hospital’s newest members of staff.
Steve Adams is the first Consultant Nurse for Dementia and Older People and joins 11 consultants who specialise in care of the elderly as well as a new and growing team of community geriatricians.
The average age of a patient at the hospital, which is run by Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, is 84. Steve said: “We are seeing more and more older people with complex needs and signs of dementia. We know that the earlier we can identify a difficulty the sooner we can act and the better quality of life that person has.”
He added: “We want to improve patient experience and care and improve how we support the carers. We also want to help staff to care for people with dementia in new and different ways and train and educate them to give them the skills they need.”
The Trust has already started a training programme for all nurses and therapies staff to raise awareness and improve people’s understanding of dementia. Steve and his colleagues are also looking at the wards to see what improvements can be made to the environment people with dementia are treated in.
Specialist staff are also taking their services out into Surrey and Sussex. Dr Ben Mearns, Clinical Lead of Acute and Elderly Medicine, said: “Our community geriatricians are exporting the expertise of the department in to the communities we serve. Taking care to the patients rather than bringing the patients to us.”
The Trust’s next ‘Hot Topic’ event looks at caring for people with dementia and elderly patients. It’s a chance to meet the consultants and lead nurses and hear about plans for developing services in the future. The discussion is on February 27th at 6pm in East Surrey Hospital’s Postgraduate Education Centre and everyone is welcome to come along. Refreshments from 5.30pm.