Royal Lancaster Infirmary ward changes help dementia patients

Betty Mudd and Kelly Lane.
Betty Mudd and Kelly Lane.

The way patients on a dementia ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary are cared for has been hailed a success and is being shared nationally as an example of good practice across the NHS.

A team of nurses and healthcare assistants, led by ward manager, Nicole Dixon, have developed a range of diversional therapies on ward 20 which has resulted in happier and healthier patients and has helped improve staff morale.

The diversional therapies have already received high praise from health policy analyst, writer, broadcaster and commentator on the NHS, Roy Liley, Dr Terri Porrett of FAB NHS Stuff and Jenni Middleton, editor of Nursing Times.

Nicole Nixon said: “As a team we attended a number of workshops, where we looked at the different ways we could do more for our patients, within the limited resources that we have available. We reviewed the way that we work, looking at current practice and the different ways we could improve patient care.

“Previously, snacks and drinks were given out on the ward at set times and we felt as a team, that patients weren’t really getting a choice as to when and how they accessed snacks or drinks outside of structured mealtimes and drink rounds.

“We decided we wanted to ensure that patients had a choice inaccessing snacks and drinks whenever they wanted to, whatever the time of day.

“Small things like introducing tea out of a bone china tea set, instead of giving our patients a beaker and a straw, which may previously have required anurse or healthcare assistant to assist the patient, are making a huge difference on the ward.”