What is Dementia?
The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia.
Caring for patients with dementia
A person with dementia may often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support, particularly when they are in an unfamiliar environment such as a hospital.
Our hospital staff consistently strive to provide care centred around the individual needs of the person with dementia. We involve not only the person themselves, but their families and carers in the assessment and care planning, including when the time comes to leave hospital.
The Butterfly Scheme
Airedale is an ambassador trust of the national ‘Butterfly Scheme’.
The Butterfly Scheme was devised by a carer named Barbara, whose mother had dementia. The purpose of the scheme is to improve patient safety and well-being in hospitals. The scheme, which patients/ carers or family members opt in to, involves placing a discreet butterfly symbol by the bedside of the patient. A butterfly care plan is visible for all staff to inform them of the individual needs of the person which can help with providing patient centred care. If you’d like to know more about the scheme, please click on the buttons below to download a leaflet or care plan. Alternatively there are Butterfly Champions on every ward and within our Radiology, Emergency, Outpatient Departments and Therapy teams.Information for Patients and Carers Butterfly Care Plan 2017
(click to watch the video)
Airedale has pledged support to the national initiative ‘John’s Campaign’ – supporting carers of people with dementia to continue caring for their loved one whilst in hospital. The campaign was set up by a carer, Nicci Gerrard, who’s father John had dementia (pictured above). Nicci suggests has she been allowed to stay with her father at the times that mattered (regardless of hospital visiting hours) his health would not have deteriorated.
We value carers as expert partners in care and are committed to working with carers to provide the best care possible for your loved one. As a carer you could access flexible visiting to help your loved one at mealtimes or with tasks as part of their daily routine. Coming in to hospital can be unsettling for many people with dementia and can have an impact on their overall wellbeing- by having their carer or close family member nearby, this can greatly improve their experience.
Our new Acute Assessment Unit ( due to open in Autumn 2018) will have 2 larger individual patient bedrooms with facilities for a carer to stay overnight. Dementia Friends Keighley have supported the hospital to design this unit with the needs of patients with dementia and their carers in mind.
For more information, speak to a member of ward staff or download our leafletJohns Campaign Leaflet_WEB
Working with Carers’ Resource
Carers’ Resource offers free information, support and guidance to carers across Bradford, Airedale and Craven. Members of the Carers’ Resource team visit the hospital to talk to carers and families about the support available to them. Sarah is based on Ward 4 once a month, but she is available to contact at other times.
Giving your feedback
If you are a carer of a person with dementia and have visited the hospital and want to provide your feedback, you are welcome to complete the survey below. The survey will help us to understand what we are doing well and what we may need to improve. The survey is confidential and we will not share your details.
If you would like to raise a concern or make a complaint about any aspect of care or treatment, you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).
(link to survey available in April 2017)
A welcoming environment
Our wards have been updated to reflect the growing needs of our patients, including those with dementia. There is ‘dementia friendly’ signage on most ward areas, making it simpler for patients to find their way around the ward. We have blue crockery available for mealtimes, which can support patients with dementia to enjoy their meals- many patients with dementia may struggle to see food on a white plate.
Our wonderful ‘Butterfly Trolleys’ are available on most wards, including Castleberg Hospital. The trolleys are filled with lots of therapeutic and reminiscence items for our patients to enjoy, individually, in a group or with a staff member or their carers and family members. Engaging people in fun and stimulating activities whilst in hospital can have an improvement impact on overall wellbeing and it can also reduce anxiety, improve sleep and reduce falls. You will also find the famous ‘Twiddlemuff’ in the Butterfly Trolleys. If you’d like a Twiddelmuff for your loved one, please ask a member of staff.
Our wonderful volunteers offer a range of support to patients and their families. This includes support at mealtimes, pastoral support, guiding people around the hospital and lots more.
Every Wednesday on Ward 4 there is a volunteer led café for patients, carers and family members. All refreshments are free, however it would be lovely if you would consider a small donation to our ‘dementia care fund’ if you use the café. The café is a social space, with reminiscence music, afternoon tea and cakes and a generally lovely atmosphere.
Recently, Julia, Shaun and Michael- the volunteers who run the café each week- were highly commended at the Pride of Airedale staff awards.
We’re always looking for new volunteers to come in to see patients, perhaps enjoy an activity from one of the Butterfly Trolleys or simply to have a chat. If this role interests you, please contact