PATIENTS with dementia are getting a good quality of care at Salisbury District Hospital, according to a review carried out by specialists and carers from the south west region.
The review team identified clear, strong leadership and commitment and a positive culture within the trust, which has enabled it to make significant changes over the last 12 months to improve the care for patients with dementia.
As part of the assessment, the peer review team observed the care provided on wards and in outpatient areas, looked at the interaction between staff and patients at mealtimes and talked to staff in clinical and non clinical areas.
The report said: “Overall the peer review team considered that the trust is in a very good position to continue to make systematic progress to improving care for people with dementia with a strong foundation in place, highly committed staff and a clear will to do better.”
Peter Hill, interim chief executive at the hospital, said: “This was a positive report that not only reflects our commitment in this important area of patient care, but also the enthusiasm and professionalism of our staff. They have worked hard to provide good quality care and accelerate the pace of improvements which has had a positive impact on the care we give to patients with dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a brain disorder that makes it hard for people to remember, learn and communicate. These changes eventually make it hard for people who have dementia to care for themselves. Dementia may also cause changes in mood and personality. Early on, lapses in memory and clear thinking may bother the person who has dementia. Later, disruptive behavior and other problems can create a burden for caregivers and other family members.
Dementia is caused by the damage of brain cells. A head injury, stroke, brain tumor or disease (such as Alzheimer’s disease) can damage brain cells and lead to dementia.
“I think that this report is a credit to our staff and I want to thank them for their enthusiasm and professionalism and the way in which they responded to the review. Although this is an excellent report, we acknowledge that there is still more work to do.
The later stages of dementia
During the later stages of dementia most people will become increasingly frail due to the progress of the illness. They will also gradually become totally dependent on others for all their care. Knowing what to expect can help everyone to prepare, and can enable the person to write an informed advance decision before they reach this stage so they can have some say over how they will be cared for.
Symptoms in the later stages
Each person with dementia experiences their illness in their own individual way. The symptoms described below do not necessarily indicate that a person is in the later stages of the disease, as several of them can also be experienced in the earlier stages. However, these symptoms are very likely to occur in the later stages.
“We will continue to build on the progress we have made so far.”
The report also identified areas that could benefit from further improvement, creating a dementia-friendly environment with better use of ‘orientation cues’ such as easy-read clocks, calendars and coloured crockery. Expanding of a system-wide approach for flagging up patient-specific requirements was also suggested.
By Corey Ross