QA wins funding for dementia care improvements

Alex Wardle, from Lee-on-the-Solent, collapsed at home and tragically died in March 2016, aged 23. 

From left: Alex's father, Stephen Wardle, sister Gemma Wardle, Alex Wardle and his mother, Denise Wardle.

Gosport family to keep Alex’s legacy alive by taking part in Great South Run

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THE trust behind Queen Alexandra Hospital has been awarded more than £450,000 to improve its dementia wards.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has won £466,382 of funding from the Department of Health.

The money will be used to improve four wards within the Medicine for Older People Clinical Service Centre.

Jane Williams, chief of medicine for older people, said: ‘This is fantastic news and I’m delighted that our hard work on the bid has paid off and we can achieve some of our ambitions for the environments, and improve patient care and experience.’

Hospitals and care homes across the country submitted dementia improvement initiatives to the Department of Health earlier this year in order to receive a share of a £50m national fund that was offered to upgrade care environments.

At QA, the remaining three acute wards will be brought in line with the recommended dementia-friendly environment standards.

This will include work to improve signs, lighting, floors, use of space and acoustics.

It will also be used to address the needs of all visitors by providing a ‘roving cafe’.

Seating and corridor areas will be transformed into ‘memory walls and walks’.

Jane added: ‘The aim is to provide memory and conversation triggers for patients with dementia to encourage meaningful communication and distraction from the institutional environment.

‘We will also be providing daily local papers, funded by the League of Friends, to the wards.

‘Volunteer ethnically diverse readers will be translating printed articles and sensitively supporting patients.

‘The aim is to help keep patients informed and aware of where they are and what’s going on in the world at present.

‘Moreover, from a falls perspective, this approach is intended to also assist our team in assessing someone’s eyesight, assessing cognition in a non-threatening way or act as a distraction/conversation starter for someone who is restless and wandersome.’

Previously QA piloted high tea, instead of a cooked evening meal in two areas, which is now going to be rolled out, after its popularity with patients.