SASH scoops national award for best dementia friendly hospital

East Surrey Hospital has been named the best dementia-friendly hospital in England at the national Dementia Care Awards 2019.

A range of improvements for people living with dementia have been made across the hospital in recent years.

An ambitious dementia strategy has been developed which focuses on four key areas; patient engagement, the patient experience, training and the environment. This has led to strengthened governance and better data which mean staff are now better able to ensure people with dementia have the right support when they need it and are cared for in the most appropriate environment.

Staff have improved nutrition through practical improvements such as making snack boxes with high-calorie finger food more readily available, reviewing meal times and trialling alternative crockery such as blue plates to help people see their food more easily.

The hospital uses the Butterfly Scheme which ensures that patients living with dementia receive the right support. Staff have also introduced dementia leads in various areas and enlisted the support of dementia volunteers who support activities on the wards.

Parts of the hospital environment have also been transformed in line with dementia friendly design principles. As part of this, the hospital now has a dementia friendly garden, Camomile Courtyard, which provides a relaxing space away from the hospital’s buildings. Part-funded by SASH Charity donations, it includes stimulating sounds and colours and ‘walls of recall’ to help evoke memories and conversations.

Michael Wilson CBE, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Providing outstanding care for people living with dementia is incredibly important and I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved in delivering these improvements – it is a real team effort. We will continue to do all we can to make our services the best they can be for our local community. I would like to say particular thanks to Chris O’Connor, consultant admiral nurse, who continues to drive these improvements.”