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Speaking up about dementia over a cup of tea

Thursday, 03 July, 2014
Speaking up about dementia over a cup of tea

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging patients and staff to talk about dementia as part of a national campaign.

To mark this year’s dementia awareness week, which runs until Saturday May 24, Northumbria Healthcare is holding a number of tea parties on hospital wards across Northumberland and North Tyneside for elderly patients, their families and staff.

The tea parties tie in with the theme of the week, run by the Alzheimer’s Society, which is ‘opening up’ about dementia and ‘stop bottling it up’ as the sooner you know what you are dealing with, the sooner you can get on with your life and feel in control again.

It is estimated that two thirds of older people who are admitted to hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside will suffer from confusion (delirium) or dementia.

Annie Laverty, director of patient experience at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to support this year’s national campaign. We know that dementia affects so many people and yet people don’t always feel able to talk openly about how they are feeling or some of the challenges they face.

“Our tea parties are just one of the ways we encourage patients, their families and carers to talk to us and to highlight the range of support available to them.

“These events complement our therapy, carer cafes, courses, support groups and activities we provide for patients and families living with dementia in our hospitals and in the community.

“We also offer dementia training to all staff including reception staff, porters and health and social care professionals to raise awareness of the illness and help improve support for patients living with dementia at every contact they have with us.”

The trust is helping to raise awareness of dementia with staff at information stalls in hospitals and community premises throughout the week.

The dementia training programme is available to all staff and helps raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of dementia, promote early diagnosis and healthy living, as well as signpost people to local services.

Northumbria Healthcare, which manages hospitals and community health services in Northumberland and North Tyneside and adult social care in Northumberland, also launched a new dedicated section on its website for people living with dementia, and a new patient support group this week (www.northumbria.nhs.uk/dementia).  

The trust’s website now contains useful information and advice about dementia including signs and symptoms, patients’ and carers’ frequently asked questions, and health and social care services the trust provides in its hospitals, people’s homes and in the community.

It also allows people to quickly access the latest local and national advice and facts.

Caring for older people is a major priority for Northumbria Healthcare, not only in the services provided in its hospitals, but also in the community and in people’s homes.

In the last 12 months, the trust has worked with partners to support social and leisure activities to help people living with dementia to stay healthy and active for as long as possible following a diagnosis.

It has also invested in improving dementia wards with new specialist equipment for therapeutic activities to promote social interaction, and developing artwork in communal and patient rooms to make the clinical surroundings more familiar and less intimidating. This follows research which highlights the importance of the physical environment for dementia patients in delivering high quality care and improving patient experience.


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