The campaign group ‘Mother Care for Sick Children’ won the battle for parents to be allowed to stay with sick children in hospital and current NHS advice to parents is clear: Stay with your child as much as you can.
Clearly, people living with dementia are not children. They are adults, often with a lifetime’s experience. Yet they too are vulnerable and they can be equally distressed and disorientated when staying at hospital. Their ability to understand and communicate with strangers may be reduced by factors such as deafness or poor eyesight, as well as memory impairment and a loss of language ability. They may also have mobility or continence problems.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) support ‘John’s Campaign’, a public declaration stating that wards and services welcome carers at all times to support patients living with dementia or experiencing delirium, whenever the patient needs them. John’s Campaign encourages ward staff to regard friends, relatives and carers as part of the team, helping them to gain a better understanding of a patients’ life, enabling staff to provide holistic, person-centred care at all times.
At DBTH, carers receive a ‘Carers Card’ to ensure that all staff they come across know that they are a carer and can have access at any time to their loved one. It is open to all patients, not just those with dementia but also people with learning disabilities, frail and vulnerable patients and anyone who received care from their loved ones at home. The ‘Carers Card’ is to be given to the family member that has a caring role for the person; if there is more than one member of the family then they can share the card, they do not need to have one each.
This is just one more way in which we can look to innovate for the betterment of our patients as we seek to become outstanding in all that we do.