Published on: 15 May 2019
During Dementia Action Week, May 20th to 26th, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust staff will be given an insight into what life on a hospital ward for a patient with dementia can be like.
The Delirium and Dementia Outreach Team, which is based in the Alexandra Centre at Sunderland Royal Hospital, has arranged a series of ‘dementia experience’ sessions. Clinical and non-clinical staff working in South Tyneside and Sunderland will be blindfolded and given gloves to wear to blunt sensation to their fingers. They will also wear headphones through which typical background noise on a ward will be played. The aim of the experience is to increase staff’s empathy, sensitivity and patience, as well as their awareness of practicalities such as keeping noise levels, which can sometimes cause distress, down.
During the Alzheimer’s Society’s awareness week, there will be other educational opportunities for staff at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal, including in relation to pain management, falls prevention and medication. Also, the MELISSA (Mobile Educational Learning Improving Simulation and Safety Activities) bus, which is used to deliver education and training for the NHS workforce across the North East and North Cumbria, will be at Haven Court, the integrated service for older people in South Tyneside which is situated in the grounds of the District Hospital
In addition, there will be public information stands on Wednesday, May 22nd, in the main concourse of Sunderland Royal Hospital, 1pm to 4pm, and on Friday, May 24th, in the main entrance at South Tyneside District Hospital, 10am to 2pm. On Thursday, May 23rd, there will be cake sales in the main entrance of the District Hospital, 10am to 2pm, and in the Alexandra Centre, noon to 4pm, to raise funds for dementia care.
To round off the Trust’s Dementia Action Week activities, Tommy Whitelaw, of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, will be at South Tyneside District Hospital to raise awareness among staff of issues facing people living with dementia and their carers.
Melanie Johnson, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “As our population ages, dementia is one of the most challenging healthcare issues we face. Our Trust is committed to improving dementia care for our patients, providing tailored support to relatives and carers and developing our staff to equip them with the skills and training they need to care for people living with dementia in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
“Most of us know someone affected in some way by dementia. Dementia Action Week is a platform to raise awareness of the importance of everyone, not only healthcare professionals, taking action to create supportive communities so people living with dementia do not feel isolated but are able to live the best life possible with the condition for as long as possible.”
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Dementia Action Week events for the public will be as follows:
Wednesday, May 22nd – information stand, main concourse, Sunderland Royal Hospital, 1pm to 4pm
Thursday, May 23rd – cake sales in the main entrance, South Tyneside District Hospital, 10am to 2pm, and in the Alexandra Centre, Sunderland Royal Hospital, noon to 4pm, to raise funds for dementia care.
Friday, May 24th – information stand, main entrance, South Tyneside District Hospital, 10am to 2pm