"Treatment of dementia patients "

About: Northern General Hospital

(as a service user),

Last April I had a new hip at the Northern General hospital Sheffield. I was really shocked to see that patients with dementia were being left virtually unsupervised on the ward and some were able to walk around getting up to all sorts of mischief. I also did not like the way in which food was being placed in front of patients and no help was given to them to feed then someone would remove the food before they could eat it. I was also concerned about the lack of engagement between staff and relatives of dementia patients, relatives often arriving thinking that their loved ones had been fed ect but no one to tell them what had been happening.

I was so alarmed about some of what I had seen and experienced personally as a patient myself that I did write my concerns to my surgeon who then thought that he should pass it on to the Matron of Huntsman seven.

Since I was on the ward, I know of two other professional women, both of which work in Health and Social care themselves who have more recently been on that same ward and they have also raised very similar concerns regarding dementia patients. We have all shared each others complaints and are anxious that some action is taken to sort this out and for the Trust to stop leaving very vulnerable people on a ward without being properly supervised. I also had other concerns about cleanliness but had since heard that measures have been put in place to improve this.

In addition to this I also want to say how brilliant my surgeons have been with me over the years. I cannot think them enough for mending me.

Mr Kerry, Mr Blundell and Mr Davies were very good

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Response from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

Dear Discopig

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback on recent stay in the Northern General Hospital.

The care of all our patients is of paramount importance to the Trust and we have made some recent changes specifically around our more vulnerable patients. These changes include:

1. Nutrition Assistant Volunteers, who receive specific training to help feed elderly and frail patients. In addition to their nutrition training, they also receive dementia training from a dementia specialist nurse. Although these volunteers are not available on all wards, the programme is being rolled out and we currently have 85 Nutrition Assistants across the Northern and Central Campuses

2. We started recruiting Activity Support Volunteers and now have 10. Their role is to talk to patients, play games, read books, magazines or newspapers and generally help relieve some of the boredom and isolation some patients feel in hospital. We focus these volunteers on long-stay wards that include many patients who live with dementia.

3. The League of Friends funds music sessions on several wards in the Trust, including monthly visits to Brearley 7 and Vickers 4, which accommodate patients with dementia. These sessions both stimulate and relax patients, providing a distraction from the clinical environment.

4· Induction – all new volunteers on their induction day receive information sheets from the Alzheimer’s Society on communicating with people with dementia

We are always looking at further developments in the experience of patients within our hospital so thank you again for leting us have your feedback

Updates, changes and questions related to this story