For some people, especially those with dementia or delirium, the experience of being admitted to hospital can be quite distressing. This is particularly true in the current climate, as the Trust has recently made changes to visiting, so that relatives can keep each other safe by socially distancing. These restrictions mean that it may be a while before certain patients get to see familiar faces again. To help address this, and introduce a little normality into the lives of patients, DBTH has created an electronic version of their ‘’This is Me’’ form.
Hosted on the Trust’s website, this short questionnaire allows family members to provide extra information about a given patient, so that care providers are able to form a clearer picture of their individual needs. For example, the form asks about their hobbies and interests, their daily routine, their anxieties, and if they have any special mementos that they like to keep nearby.
These details will then be collated into a one-page profile for clinical staff to reference. Once equipped with this deeper understanding, nurses will be able to offer more personalised care and look after the patient in a way that better suits them.
Speaking about the ‘’This is Me’’ form, Beth Cotton, Lead Dementia Nurse, said: ‘’Here at DBTH, we recognise that no one knows a patient better than their friends and family. So it makes sense for us to approach them as the experts and learn everything that we can. Under normal circumstances, we’d be able to talk to loved ones face-to-face and get to know families along with the patient, but thatis difficult right now.’’
‘’The electronic form is our solution to this problem, as it gives you the opportunity to collaborate and care with us from a distance. By sharing your insights and acting as a font of knowledge, you will help us to individually tailor the care that we deliver. The questionnaire itself is quick and easy-to-understand, and will fill you with confidence that we know your loved one as a person. Whether it’s their sleeping habits, their favourite conversation topics, or their history: it all helps.’’
In addition to the form, DBTH have come up with some others ways you can help from a distance, when visiting is not always an option:
- You can write your loved one a letter and email it to the butterfly email address
- You are welcome to drop off fresh clothes or their favourite foods at the door to wards – just let the staff know who it is for and ensure that it is labelled and the food has a date on it and please, only 1 person to attend hospital to do this.
- Each ward has a tablet for video calls – please ring the ward to book a time to speak with your loved one
- Please look after yourself, remember ‘hands, face and space’ when out; give yourself time to think about your health needs and general life-admin. Also consider whether you have got anything in place to support your loved one should you become unwell.