Dementia-friendly On Ward support

The need

It's a vicious circle. Those with dementia are often subject to delayed discharge from hospital after illness or an injury. Bed rest accelerates sarcopenia (muscle loss), which increases the likelihood of a further fall or injury after discharge, and the need for readmission. In addition, hospitals can be unfamiliar, distressing places for those with cognitive impairment, which can mean they leave hospital with their confidence and general sense of well-being at a low ebb.
  • 42% of unplanned admissions are aged 70 and over and with dementia
  • Stay times are on average 25% longer, and for some Trusts up to 85% longer
  • Five days of bed rest can result in around 16% loss of leg strength
  • By 2025 over 1.1 million will be living with dementia.

What we do

We provide support on ward, particularly for those with a degree of dementia. For example, working in partnership with Move It Or Lose It!: run as a group activity or one-to-one as appropriate for the patient, these chair-based resistance exercises use music, balls and games to create fun, interactive sessions.

For those with mild to moderate dementia, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) aims to stimulate cognition through structured sessions built around word association, current affairs and orientation games.  It has been fouind to improve well-being and quality of life.

We can also help with:
  • Discharge preparation Getting patients ready to go home, with an onward assessment on needs, preparation of the home for discharge, and where needed provision of further support at home for up to 8 weeks through our Home from Hospital service, or signposting to others providing local support.
  • Hydration/nutrition prompting, supporting and encouraging patients to eat and drink well.

How it makes a difference

We believe that for those in hospital, being in an age-friendly and dementia-friendly environment can significantly help to improve health and well-being, reduce length of stay and reduce the chance of readmission being necessary.

Resistance-based exercise has been found to be highly effective in reducing falls and hip fractures, which account for over 4 million hospital bed days per year. CST has been found to be effective in a number of randomised control trials. In those with mild to moderate dementia, it improved both cognitive function and well-being/quality of life.

Fementia Friendly On Ward Support from Royal Voluntary Service

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We're always happy to share our experiences and discuss new ways we could work together in partnership in the NHS and in the community.

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