Dementia Awareness Week – Hospital Admissions and John’s Campaign

15th to 21st May 2017 is Dementia Awareness week.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich are holding a Dementia Awareness Event tomorrow Wednesday 17th May between 1.30pm and 5pm at:

The Stables, 76 Hornfair Road, Charlton, SE7 7BD.

Come along where you can find out about local dementia services and perhaps take part in the interactive sessions being provided. We are pleased to say we are taking part in this community event.

As well as talking to people about our groups we want to take the opportunity to talk about Hospital Admissions and John’s Campaign. All the NHS Trusts running local hospitals have signed up to be part of it.

So what is John’s campaign? John’s Campaign is :

“for the right of people with dementia to be supported by their family carers”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

John’s Campaign was founded in November 2014 by Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones. The Campaign is named after Dr John Gerrard, who died in November 2014 after a catastrophic stay in hospital.

Behind its simple statement of purpose lies the belief that carers should not just be allowed but should be welcomed, and that a collaboration between the patients and all connected with them is crucial to their health and their well-being. John’s Campaign applies to all hospital settings: acute, community, mental health and its principles could extend to all other caring institutions where people are living away from those closest to them.

In the time since the campaign was founded, over 1000 institutions have pledged support and a lot of progress has been made – but there is a lot yet to be done.

For their advice for carers see here. For more information about John’s Campaign see here


Hospital  Statistics

The Alzheimer’s Society produced statistics in their 2009 report “Counting the Cost: caring for people with dementia on hospital wards:

  • Over a quarter of hospital beds in the UK are currently occupied by people with dementia
  • The average stay of a person with dementia is three weeks but it can be much longer if rehabilitation is a problem or there is no where suitable to go.
  • One third of people with dementia who go into hospital for an unrelated condition NEVER return to their own homes.
  • 47% of people with dementia who go into hospital are physically less well when they leave than when they went in.
  • 54% of people with dementia who go into hospital are mentally less well when they leave.


Tips to manage the patient experience

  1. As per John’s Campaign, speak to the nurse in charge to let them know you are the main carer and to arrange open visiting. This means you will be able to visit outside of normal visiting hours if you want to.
  2. Speak to the doctor in charge of the patient’s care. This can be requested via the nurse in charge. This is essential as the doctor will have the overall say as to what is going to happen. Doctors have a busy schedule but on request they will meet with you or give you a phone call. You can find out about the patient’s treatment plan and can then make it clear if you want to be involved in decisions around the patient’s care, and accompany them should they need to leave the hospital to go on any appointments or be transferred. You can also let them know about any concerns you may have about supporting the patient on their return home.
  3. Before the patient returns home, a discharge meeting will take place. If you want to be included in this process, let the doctor know. This is the opportunity to make sure you have the right support to continue to care for the patient taking into account the recent changes. If you are not happy about something let them know. Your opinion is important and you do have a say.
  4. A hospital social worker will usually be involved if a patient needs a care package to return home or special equipment. Again you can ask to meet with them.
  5. You know the patient best.  Be polite but assertive when speaking on behalf of the patient.
  6. PALS – The Patient Advisory Liaison Service, is there to help. They can be found in every hospital. In the Queen Elizabeth hospital (QEH) they have their office at the back of the foyer. Tel: 020 8836 4592. Do speak to them if you have any concerns that you feel are not being dealt with e.g. on the ward as they can liaise on your behalf. Do not be afraid to contact them as they are there to help.
  7. The QEH, has an Elderly Care Pathway Matron. She is another person you can ask to see to share your concerns. Tel: 020 836 5299.

Important – Do not rely on the ward nurses to pass on any messages. They are extremely busy and they may accidentally forget to pass on your message. Following the tips above may help prevent you from becoming stressed and feeling you are not being heard.

Also –  If you are the main carer, have you given any thought as to what will happen if you become ill or need to go into hospital? Giving some thought to this now may help to give you peace of mind should this happen.

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