By ANISAH ARIF
A newly designed bus stop on a ward in Airedale Hospital is helping give dementia patients a quiet and safe place to be whilst in hospital.
For patients with dementia coming into hospital can be disorientating and frightening as the ward will be unfamiliar and the person may not understand where they are or why they are there. This special bus stop will help them feel more settled whilst giving them a place to walk to and to sit at, which all helps their wellbeing and reduces anxiety during their time in hospital.
It’s common for some people with dementia to spend long periods of time walking around or trying to walk outside. Agitation is also a common symptom of dementia and so the person may be restless, fidget and walk up and down because of their condition.
Laura Brady, Ward Manager on ward 9 at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says: “We care for orthopaedic trauma patients, so they may have fallen and had an injury and two thirds of our patients are living with dementia. People with dementia tend to move about the ward and look for something that is familiar or want to go home so we have found that if we use the bus stop, it helps them feel calmer and less anxious.”
The staff have also provided a ‘reminiscence’ day room in a 1940’s/50’s style of furniture complete with lace doilies and a fire place. There is also a wall of pictures of Keighley from past decades to help patients talk about their memories.
The bus stop signage and timetable were donated free of charge and the bench was given to the ward by the family of a patient that had passed away. Staff contributed too by raising money for the room and the nurses themselves bought things to furnish it.
Emily Sale, Senior Occupational Therapist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust adds: “The room is very useful to us as therapists as we can use it to orientate people – it gives patients living with dementia a purpose if they can see something more familiar to walk towards, rather than asking them to walk with us in the corridors of the hospital. It also helps us build conversations and relationships as we can ask where they used to go on buses so we can talk about memories that have made up that person’s life.”
This is one of many ways the hospital is supporting patients with dementia. In June 2017 a special Butterfly tea room was opened on ward 6 to help patients talk about their happy memories and wards have daily activities to give meaningful stimulation during their stay so they are calmer and sleep better.