Dementia practitioners transforming the care of patients in Lincolnshire’s hospitals

Patients with dementia in Lincolnshire’s hospitals are getting specialist one to one assessment and care thanks to the appointment of two new specialist nurses.

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Patients with dementia in Lincolnshire’s hospitals are getting specialist one to one assessment and care thanks to the appointment of two new specialist nurses.

The dementia practitioners have recently started work at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Between them, Jodie Barwick and Jenny Meng have extensive experience in assessing and managing patients with dementia.

The new job involves them assessing every patient admitted to hospital with suspected dementia, to ensure that any patients with dementia get the tailored care that they require through the hospitals’ mental health liaison teams. This can be up to 15 patients per day across both hospitals.

Importantly, they also visit patients on the wards who have been identified with dementia and assess what support they require. They are regularly called upon by staff to provide enhanced care or one to one care if dementia patients require additional support. They also involve families and carers to be able to provide support for the patient.

Jodie, who is working at Pilgrim hospital, said: “I worked with lots of patients who had dementia in my previous role as a healthcare support worker, and thought that I could bring a lot of new ideas and make a difference for dementia patients in this new role.

“You can’t label someone with dementia and expect everyone to be the same and have the same needs, you have to assess individual needs, likes and dislikes and provide support and care which is more tailored.”

Jenny, who works at Lincoln County Hospital having previously worked  in care home settings, said: “I am passionate about the proper care of patients with dementia. It is the small things that make such a difference to their hospital experience, and I like to think this role gives me the opportunity to make those small changes.

“It can be about ensuring that they understand what is happening to them, or it can be about ensuring their needs are met in terms of nutrition, mouth care or just getting them an extra blanket to keep them warm.

“I love going onto the wards and speaking to these patients and their families to really enhance the care that they are already receiving.”

Both women help patients and their families complete All About Me booklets so that staff know more about the patient’s history, likes and dislikes.

At Pilgrim, Jodie runs afternoon activity sessions for patients where they can mix with other patients, socialise, play games, paint, decorate cakes and listen to music from their era. She encourages patients who are mobile to take a walk with her outside and get some fresh air.

The dementia practitioners also provide wards with donated items such as fiddle blankets and twiddle muffs which are used by patients who are distressed and have been fiddling with their cannulas and IV lines. The twiddle muffs are used to cover cannulas and sit comfortably on the arm.

Deputy Chief Nurse at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Jennie Negus, said: “One of their roles is to support patients with dementia on the wards and provide some 1:1 care to help people settle.

“They are already doing a fantastic job and the feedback from patients and relatives to the level of care they provide has been excellent.”