Rochdale Infirmary staff join forces with local carer groups to mark Dementia Awareness Week

DAW May 16 3
Rochdale Infirmary staff join forces with local carer groups to mark Dementia Awareness Week
19 May 2016

STAFF at Rochdale Infirmary who work in the hospital or out in the community joined forces with local carer groups this week to mark and support this year’s national Dementia Awareness Week 2016.

Nursing and catering staff who work in the Infirmary’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC), Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU) and the specialist medical Oasis Unit for patients with dementia pulled out all the stops to organise a range of fun and informative events across the hospital for staff, patients and the public on Wednesday (18 May 2016).

Staff from all departments across the infirmary, including security staff, porters, catering, estates and domestic staff, as well as all nursing, medical, students, physiotherapists and other Allied Health Professionals, district and community nurses, social care staff, and management and administration teams, all joined in as part of the drive to raise awareness about dementia.

A number of local partner organisations also joined NHS staff to help promote the event and to provide information including representatives from Age UK Metro Rochdale, the Alzheimer’s Society and HMR Circle. 

In addition to a variety of information stands and a series of training and awareness sessions held on the day, afternoon tea parties were arranged where the catering department put on food and drinks for patients and their families.

A focus on dementia is a key quality priority for The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Rochdale Infirmary, and is included as one of the ten elements in the Trust’s newly launched “Raising the Bar on Quality” action plan published in December last year.

Early diagnosis of dementia and interventions are key priorities for the Trust as is improving the quality of care for people with dementia in general wards.

In February this year the Trust announced the appointment of Janice McGrory as the Trust’s first Dementia Consultant Nurse. Janice’s role is to advise and lead on the Trust’s dementia strategy and deliver dementia training to all grades of staff who work across North Manchester and Fairfield General Hospitals, The Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary and community services.

Janice said: “Improving dementia care often includes changing or challenging culture and beliefs, but by taking new approaches to caring for people with dementia, there are obvious benefits not only to the patient and carer, but for staff as well.”

Dementia awareness staff training sessions were led by Janice throughout Dementia Awareness Week, with over 80 staff at Rochdale Infirmary signing up to become a “dementia friend”.

Rochdale Infirmary prides itself as one of the first hospitals in the country to have developed a new dedicated medical unit for patients with dementia. Opened in April 2014, the five bedded unit offers patients a modern ‘dementia friendly’ environment, enhanced nurse staffing ratios with specialist input of Registered Mental Nurses from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust. Daily medical input from doctors is provided to the unit by medical staff from the Clinical Assessment Unit (CAU). 

The Oasis Unit boasts its own relaxing lounge area, kitchen and dining area tailored for the needs of patients and their families and carers. The new service is a result of close partnership working between clinicians and senior management from the local NHS and Rochdale Borough Council.

Commenting on the event, Louisa Harkness-Hudson, clinical matron at Rochdale Infirmary, said: “The interest and involvement that has been shown by staff and our local partner agencies this week to support dementia awareness week is a true testament to the spirit felt here at Rochdale Infirmary. The dementia friend sessions that were held made us all think about dementia and the impact this has on everyone and how as a community we can make a difference.”

Dementia Awareness Week is supported by the Alzheimer's Society, the UK charity which provides support and research for those affected by dementia. In the UK there are about 800,000 people with dementia; it is estimated that around 400,000 people have dementia but do not know it.

By raising awareness about this condition, it is hoped that more people will be diagnosed earlier, giving more time for them to come to terms with future symptoms.

One quarter of people accessing acute hospitals are likely to have dementia and the number with the condition is expected to double over the next 30 years. Dementia can be caused by a number of illnesses. It results in progressive decline in multiple areas of function, including memory function, communication and the ability to carry out daily activities. The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.