New dementia friendly ward at Fairfield General serves up afternoon tea

dementia ward 2
New dementia friendly ward at Fairfield General serves up afternoon tea
29 May 2014

Afternoon tea and scones were the order of the day on Ward 21 at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury last week (22 May). 

The ward was taking part in national dementia awareness week and, as part of the Trust’s Medicine for Members’ events, also organised a talk and tour of the newly refurbished 23-bedded medical ward, specially designed to create a dementia-friendly environment to care for those suffering with the debilitating disease.

The event was a chance for staff, the public and the Trust’s public members to enjoy a nice cup of tea and scones, and to speak with staff and patients to learn more about dementia and the condition, and how to cope with it.

Dementia affects a staggering 820,000 people in the UK with the figure set to double by 2030.   Symptoms of dementia include memory loss, personality and mood changes, communication problems, and problems carrying out activities of daily living, all of which can be distressing and frustrating for sufferers and their families.

Sr Judith Maden, ward manager at Fairfield General Hospital, said:  “The event was a great opportunity to showcase the new ward and day lounge, which will be used for recreational activities.   I am very proud of the unit and I am currently enlisting volunteers to help on the ward with a regular programme of activities including; hand massage, conversation club, bingo and card games.”

The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield General Hospital, has invested £35,000 on Ward 21 creating a dementia friendly environment with lighting, floor coverings, art work and signage.

Judith added: “It has been estimated that 25% of patients accessing acute hospital services have dementia, although many are undiagnosed. This number is expected to double within the next thirty years. It is widely recognised that a hospital stay can have a detrimental effect on patients with dementia and can be distressing. The environment in which we care for patients with dementia can make a huge difference and we have invested resources with the aim of making the ward less alienating for people with cognitive problems.

“The key to dementia care is that it is person centred and simple measures regarding getting to know the person, their habits, their likes and dislikes and who and what is important in their lives has a beneficial effect on their well-being.”

Visitors were very impressed with the unit with one member commenting: “It was a really caring and kind environment.  The strong leadership of Judith and her team is a beacon of kindness, caring and excellence.”