Event Highlights Support for Patients With Dementia in Fife
Published: Friday 07 Jun 2019
An event has been held at Victoria Hospital aimed at examining approaches to dementia care at a local and national level.
Taking place as part of Dementia Awareness Week, the event was attended by Scotland's Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Fiona McQueen, and Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive, Henry Simmons, and highlighted the wide variety of innovative work underway in Fife which is helping to further improve care. It also marked the local launch of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant Report which was unveiled nationally earlier in the week.
For people with dementia coming into hospital can be a stressful and disorienting experience causing much anxiety, but a range of new practices and ways of working are making a real difference to the way patients with dementia are supported.
One successful project that has been introduced in Fife is the use of music to soothe and calm.
Available in a variety of settings including A&E, acute and community wards and specialist dementia units, patients can download preferred music to an iPod to stimulate, relax and distract. Staff can also help to create an individual playlist of meaningful music that evokes personal memories for the individual.
Elsewhere, a pilot in Glenrothes Hospital is using an Amazon Echo to allow patients in bays and individual rooms easy access to music, providing extra stimulation whilst in hospital.
Other dementia initiatives include:
- The use of easily identifiable dementia-friendly signage across hospitals
- Improvements to day rooms in wards, providing a less clinical environment and a more homely setting. This has included the 1950s/60s-inspired ‘Cosy Neuk’ which includes a variety of vintage items replicating the products, sights and sounds of years gone by
- An improved therapeutic environment in theatres with the creation of a unique countryside mural designed to relax patients
- The introduction of regular ‘therapet’ visits in wards
Fife’s Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, Helen Skinner, said: “These initiatives are making a huge difference to patients with dementia and feedback from our patients and their families and friends has been extremely positive. We are constantly looking at different ways we can improve the experience of our patients.”
In addition, learning and educational opportunities are continually shared with healthcare staff to ensure the very best care for people with dementia is delivered, with Fife’s Dementia Champions playing an important role in furthering this.
The Dementia Champions, made up of nursing and Allied Health Professional staff, provide advice and guidance across wards and services and support staff with complex matters or educational resources. Across Fife there are 52 currently champions.
Helen Buchanan, NHS Fife Director of Nursing, said: “I’m delighted that we were able to show Professor McQueen and Mr Simmons some of our dementia care initiatives in action.
“There is a great deal of excellent work taking place in hospitals and the community to support and care for patients with dementia and their loved ones, and we are committed to building on that.
“Our Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant and Dementia Champions play a key role in helping to drive these initiatives and support staff to deliver the highest standards of care.”
Henry Simmons, Chief Executive for Alzheimer Scotland, said: “It is quite remarkable to see how much progress has been made within the acute care environments of our NHS. Much of this is because of the dedication and leadership of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultants and the sustained partnership and joint investment in this work between the Scottish Government, NHS Boards and Alzheimer Scotland.
“The reason for the joint investment has always been about ensuring the highest quality of hospital experience for the person with dementia and their families. We are extremely grateful to our NHS colleagues and the Scottish Government for their ongoing commitment to jointly fund this work in partnership with us to deliver tremendous outcomes and enormous value and one we hope will continue long into the future.”