Haslemere and Farnham Community hospitals back campaign to improve dementia support for inpatients

A series of measures are being introduced at Haslemere and Farnham Community Hospitals to improve the experience of dementia patients and their carers during a stay in hospital.

Virgin Care, who run services at the hospitals, have signed up to John's Campaign, a national initiative which campaigns to give carers the right to stay alongside their loved ones in hospital outside normal visiting hours.

Both hospitals have introduced extended visiting times and a ‘Carer’s Champion’ has been identified on each ward to support carers.

Allowing carers to stay with loved ones has been shown to reduce agitation in dementia patients, contributing to shorter hospital stays and reduced readmission rates.

Carers of patients with dementia will be provided with a carer’s passport, which will include important information on how to access flexible visiting times and meals during their stay, and how to maintain privacy and dignity for other patients.

The new initiatives are being implemented with help from Virgin Care's 'Feel the Difference Fund' which provides £100,000 a year to implement projects designed and delivered by frontline staff to improve the experience of those using community health services.

The fund will support Farnham Hospital in purchasing beds to enable carers to stay in hospital with their loved ones, and carers will be shown how to access information from Virgin Care’s Carers Club website which was launched 2 years ago as an online resource for carers across England.

Sarah Wardle, Virgin Care’s managing director for the services in Surrey, said: 
“We’re pleased to be able to pledge our support for John’s Campaign and make a real commitment to support carers who want to stay with the person they care for at our hospitals for longer.”

Julia Jones

Co-founder of John's Campaign

“This is quite simply the right thing to do – and we thank Virgin Care on behalf of their patients and their families for doing it.
“I have a mother living with dementia and I know how important it is that she receives high quality professional care when she needs it, but also how important my support is to her, enabling her to get full benefit from that care. I hope the example of Virgin Care’s Surrey community hospitals will show the way to many others across the country.”

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