Enhancing the environment for people with dementia at Airedale General Hospital
In March 2015, Healthwatch Enter and View volunteers visited Ward 4 at Airedale General Hospital, to look at the way they care for patients with dementia. Healthwatch previously visited an elderly care ward at Airedale General Hospital in August 2013 and also carried out a review of the experiences of carers of people living with dementia, published in April 2014. Healthwatch had made a number of recommendations for improvements, such as improving aspects of the ward environment, improving training for staff, and increasing the involvement of carers.
The visit is featured in our short film about the positive impact of Enter and View visits on local hospitals.
We went back to the Trust to look at the changes that had been made to the elderly care wards during a refurbishment programme and how this has impacted on patient experience.
Val Mills is an Authorised Representative, who took part in both visits,
"There were massive changes when we went to the ward on the second occasion. They had moved to a new ward in the hospital, it had been completely refurbished and the service was being delivered at a much higher level.
"For example, there was a room where patients could go with their visitors and actually talk with them privately. There was a huge aura of lots of new things happening, lots of new care being taken of the patients."
To follow-up on our work with carers of people with dementia, we invited a representative from the local Memory Club to come along on the visit.
Cyril Davies cares for his wife, and had previously had mixed experiences of the elderly care wards at Airedale. He was impressed by the Trust's commitment to improving their services and involving carers,
"They were setting up a dementia garden, the decorations had improved a lot, and I think it is a good environment now for people with dementia. The sister in charge seemed to be well aware of what people with dementia are feeling, although perhaps not everything because you've got to live with people to really know that.
"I think Healthwatch is doing a good job in trying to keep in touch with all that's happening with the hospital. And hopefully with the experience of carers like myself they will improve the hospital environment. I think this is needed, really needed, and the more experience I have of Margaret's dementia, the more I'm learning every day."
Elaine Andrews, Assistant Director of Patient Safety at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed the Enter and View visit and report:
"I think it's essential for us to listen to what carers are saying to Healthwatch, so that we can identify priorities and address them, and so that we have carers who feel confident in our care."