Families of patients with dementia and memory impairment are being invited to play key roles in their care while in hospital.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (HUTH) has pledged to uphold John’s Campaign, a national initiative to ensure families play active roles, despite unprecedented pressure on hospitals.
Relatives who have loved ones with dementia or memory impairment – known as essential care givers – are entitled to unrestricted visiting while the patient is in Hull Royal Infirmary or Castle Hill Hospital.
Lead Dementia Matron Karen Harrison said: “We’re shifting mind sets from “allowing” family members to visit to actually promoting and encouraging visiting for these often-vulnerable patients while they’re in hospital, away from familiar surroundings.
“Family members are the experts here. They know these patients best so can tell us what’s normal for their loved ones, explain their likes and dislikes and what works to calm and comfort them if they become distressed.”
Posters promoting John’s Campaign are being displayed in all clinical areas at both hospitals and senior ward staff are checking members of their team knows what the campaign means, particularly in relation to visiting.
If a ward is affected by Covid-19, family members of these patients can still visit but must wear the correct PPE for the area and follow handwashing directives. We also ask that family members have tested negative on Lateral Flow Devices before visiting to help us prevent the spread of the virus.
Families of patients with dementia and memory impairment can also visit during mealtimes, which are usually closed to visitors, to assist in supporting their relative to eat and drink.
Relatives are also encouraged to visit during doctors’ ward rounds, usually a time when wards are closed to general visiting, so they can act as an advocate for their loved one.
Karen Harrison said: “Other patients on wards who do not have memory impairment or dementia often ask why their families can’t benefit from unrestricted visiting too but, once we explain John’s Campaign, they understand we’re acting in the best interest of these often-vulnerable patients.
“We’re grateful to all of our patients and their families for their support and understanding.”