Forget Me Not - improving dementia care
Our vital work in supporting patients with dementia
At Warrington and Halton Hospitals, we are helping to create the very best environment that we can for our patients with dementia. It's part of a project we are calling Forget Me Not. You can find out more about our work on this page.
We are inviting you to join us to create a dementia friendly environment for our patients and their families and carers. There’s a range of ways in which you can do this by donating time, specific items or even just your commitment to finding out more about dementia.
We are part of the Dementia Action Alliance which means we are committed to being dementia friendly. You can read more about the DAA and our work as part of it here.
What is dementia?
The term dementia describes a set of symptoms that include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning. There are many types of dementia. The most common are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. affects about 800,000 people in the UK – and the number is expected to grow. The condition usually occurs in people over the age of 65. It can include problems with memory loss, mental agility, language, understanding and judgment.
People with dementia can become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities, and have problems controlling their emotions. They may also find social situations challenging, lose interest in socialising, and aspects of their personality may change.
Why we are dementia friendly at Warrington and Halton Hospitals
Like us, you want our patients’ care to be right.
- You want our patients with dementia to be warm, fed and well cared for in the right environment
- You want their care to maintain their pride and dignity
- You want to help eradicate the agitation and distress that often comes with dementia
- You want to help their families and carers to feel that patients with dementia are safe in our care and to know that patients with dementia are a priority for us
- You want our hospitals to lead the way in dementia care, and to be able to demonstrate success
- You want our approach to mean that patients with dementia spend as little time in hospital as possible
Our new Forget Me Not ward
There's a whole range of exciting work taking place in this field. The biggest development is our £1 million dementia ward – the Forget Me Not ward.
This ward provides first class care for patients who come into hospital for medical treatment but also have dementia. The ward uses colour, light and innovative design to create a calming environment for our patients. It has been funded through a successful bid to the Department of Health as part of a national programme to create dementia friendly environments. Our bid was one of the largest awarded in the country.
We're incredibly proud to have been able to create a facility like this for our local patients.
How you can help us
Creating the right physical building for caring for patients with dementia is important, but there's plenty of other important aspects to caring for patients with dementia that you can help us with. There’s several things we are looking for you to help us with by donating your time, or items that will be beneficial in helping to stimulate patients with dementia.
We are looking for:
- Dementia friends – Could you give any time, even just half an hour every now and again, to sit and talk with a patient with dementia? It’s a vital part of the wider care that we can provide at the hospitals.
- Knit us a Twiddlemuff! – Do you knit? Have you heard of Twiddlemuffs? They’re a knitted band that we can attach items to that a patient with dementia can twiddle in their hands – helping stimulation whilst on the wards. You can download some simple instructions on knitting a Twiddlemuff here.
If you can’t donate any time, we are also looking for items that we can use to help our patients:
Photos and pictures
Visual stimulation is incredibly important.
- Historic photos and pictures - Do you have a photograph or picture from ‘yesteryear’ that you don’t mind donating to us, it can be photos of Warrington, Runcorn or Widnes in days gone by, or a photo from wartime Britain (if you think the majority of our patients are in their 80’s so pictures from the era when they were younger are required – 1940’s, 50’s etc.).
- Nature pictures - Pictures or photographs of nature (open spaces, gardens, old buildings etc.).
Items to be used as (and in) rummage bags
Rummage bags can be used to provide stimulation – basically a bag which we can place items in. The kind of things we need are:
- A handbag or bag you no longer need
- Set of unused keys on a key-ring that you no longer want and are happy to donate to us
- A plain wallet
- A plain purse
- Wooden jigsaw puzzles
Donating to our charitable fund for dementia care
Our Warrington and Halton Hospitals Charitable Fund is also helping support development of extra services and benefits for our patients with dementia. Just a small donation will help fund some of the extras on our dementia ward like artwork, audio visual stimulation and much more.
We can receive secure donations online through Just Giving. Using Just Giving is a really quick and secure way to support us, and if you would like you can also set up your fundraising page to help you to raise even more money, thank you. Visit our Just Giving page.
You can also donate quickly and securely by text, just text ‘HOSP05’ followed by either £5 or £10 to 70070 (for example ‘HOSP05 £10). Our Text donations are managed by JustTextGiving, a service which allows us to receive donations by text without any fee, and allows you to make a donation without using up any of your text allowance.
Contacting us, donating items or finding out more
If you can help and spare any time as a dementia friend or knitter then please register your interest, or contact us with any questions, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The national dementia friends campaign
Dementia Friends is a programme created by the Alzheimer’s Society to give people an understanding of what it's like to live with dementia and the small things everyone can do to make a difference to people living with the condition.
You can find out more at www.dementiafriends.org.uk
As well as our hospital work, there's an active community dementia friends programme. Find out more by joining a local information session. Contact Annie Baker at Warrington Voluntary Action on 01925 246 880 or by email at email@example.com