Recognising expertise of carers

Westerdale North and South at Sandwell Park Hospital in Hartlepool have welcomed carers onto the ward to improve outcomes for those living with dementia.

Staying in hospital can be a difficult experience for anyone, but for those living with dementia it can be overwhelming.  Having the continued support of a known carer who can offer reassurance can make the world of difference.

That’s why Westerdale North and South at Sandwell Park Hospital in Hartlepool have welcomed carers onto the ward.  The carer and family engagement project, piloted on the two wards introduced a range of initiatives to improve the lives of those staying at the hospital.

Graeme Flaherty-Jones, consultant clinical psychologist and locality lead for older people’s psychology services in Teesside said “The carer and family engagement project has incorporated the principles of ‘John’s Campaign’, a movement to recognise families and carers as equal partners in the care and support of people with dementia.

“Hospital staff have a great breadth of clinical knowledge, but family members and carers are experts on the individual and can provide insights that help us to deliver high quality person centred care, resulting in improved outcomes for service users.

“Over the past 12 months we have removed visiting times from the wards to make it easier for people to see their loved ones, offering overnight stays and meals to carers. We have also recruited volunteer drivers to help people maintain contact with family and friends and offer regular carer support sessions and assessments.  The wards also host a range of carers events including a tea dance, craft events, film screenings and run a weekly mindfulness group to help carers feel less overwhelmed when managing stress.

“Carers have told us that the changes we have made have had a positive impact on the wellbeing of the person they support and feedback from the friends and family test has identified overall carer satisfaction has risen to 97%.

“Going forward we plan to share the outcomes of the project with other areas of the Trust and continue our devotion to support families and carers on the ward."

 

For more information on the project please email. graeme.flaherty-jones@nhs.net